Review: MOFFIE, Riverside Studios

Now showing until 30 June at Riverside Studios

By: Jun. 10, 2024
Review: MOFFIE, Riverside Studios
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Review: MOFFIE, Riverside Studios The stage adaptation of André Carl van der Merwe’s novel Moffie is presented as a monologue, delivered by actor Kai Luke Brümmer who reprises the role of Nicholas from the 2019 film adaptation of the same novel.

The play is a portrayal of the experiences of a young, gay conscript in the South African Defence Force during the apartheid era and how past and present trauma have shaped his path and identity. The solo performance is powerful, and maintains a level of authenticity throughout the duration of the full performance. Brümmer delivers every word and gesture with consideration, pulling the audience into the life of this man and the issues he is facing.

The minimalist set design from Niall Griffin places the focus squarely on the performance, and Brümmer uses the space well, moving and positioning himself on the set pieces as he delivers the narrative.

This is a hard hitting story, full of trauma and intensity. The narrative at times jumps abruptly to a flashback or inner memory of the central character, and this only adds to the context and layered emotional complexity of the character.

Review: MOFFIE, Riverside Studios

Brümmer portrays Nicholas with nuance and subtle differences between the various stages of his life and is noticeably altered by his time in the armed forces. His experiences in the army, and the relevant traumatic memories from his earlier life, have changed him.

The play focuses on the themes of discrimination with a myopic lens on toxic masculinity and internalised homophobia with limited reflection on the wider themes of discrimination or prejudice which given the political landscape of the setting feels like a potential missed opportunity. However, the focus on toxic masculinity is handed very well.

The play gives much to think about and for a short play, it is filled with dramatic tension. Ultimately though, it is a beautiful story of a tender and gentle human forced into a brutal environment filled with hate and toxic masculinity.

Moffie is at the Riverside Studios until 30 June

Photo credits: Daniel Rutland Manners


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