Reviewed By Belinda Otas
Your correspondent walks into the Young Vic and she is greeted by an effusive sound from a 14-strong South African choir led by the award-winning artist, Pauline Malefane. The choir members gladly show her to a seat and instantly, she becomes part of the play.
These are not your average theatre seats either. Rather, they are plastic crates for mineral drinks put on top each other to ensure the right height for those sitting on them. The audience is fully entertained before the show begins with tempestuous hand clapping, singing and the voices take them to South Africa.
The shrilling voices soon stop and your correspondent is taken on a journey to experience the pain deeply rooted in the hearts of millions of South Africans - the ravaging effects of the Aids virus.
Generations, a new play by Debbie Tucker Green focuses on three generations of a South African Family and their sad struggle with the consuming force of death.
What do you when you loose your teenage grand-daughters and your daughter to a disease that has ravaged your country? Though there is no mention of the words Aids or HIV in the 30 minutes this play runs. The poetic, evocative and solemn nature of loosing those you love to a force you have no control over makes you think about generations being lost to the disease.
The stage is set to reveal a cooking dynasty, who love to cook and eat together and in their history, cooking has been the way the men got to the women’s hearts. The gas cooker, fridge and washing sink are all in the middle and you can see the flame as it engulfs the air when the pots are opened.
The words are poetical and in a sense lyrical: “The talent to touch a little of sweetness” and “I was the cooker – you were the cookless – I was the cooker who coached the cookless. I coached you to cook.” These wonderful prose add elements of life and sweetness to Generations.
While it succeeds in asking questions and answering none about what is happening to our generations, you do feel the story could have been developed more to show more of the devastating effects of the silent killer known as HIV.
Belinda Otas is a London-based journalist and The New Black's theatre critic.
Generations now showing at the Young Vic
For more information visit: www.youngvic.org
Tel: 0207 922 2922
Picture: Tristram Kenton
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