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Cape Town cast takes roof off in Gershwin's folk-opera; REVIEW.


Porgy and Bess BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME ON THE opening night of George Gershwin's legendary folk-opera, a packed theatre was not disappointed.

Cape Town Opera's production of a show about black people (but created by white people) was designated by Gershwin for black performers.

And this all-black company from Cape Town took the roof off with singing which could modulate into a kind of lyricism which touched you to the heart.

In Christine Crouse's magnificent production, the action has been updated and is set in Soweto, and Crouse has re-imagined the South African apartheid years.

If nothing else, it satisfies a yearning in modern-day black Africa to lay old ghosts to rest.

Yet a certain logic has been slightly eroded in the process. The fisherfolk of Gershwin's Catfish Row drown at sea - not possible in Soweto, and also Porgy must leave for New York as the piece closes, something impossible in 70s Soweto for a black man.

But Crouse's achievement is to give us singing which leaves you breathless, with Xolela Sixaba (Porgy) and Tsakane Valentine Maswanganyi (Bess) effortlessly stealing the honours.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Jun 8, 2012
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