Crazy Good Theatre

This one from Lesley Stones – originally on Artslink and also on Lesley’s website. Merci!

 

Everything about Crazy In Love feels like good theatre purely for the sake of good theatre.

There is no important message to hammer home, no topic that needed exposing or emotions to publically cauterise.

It’s a play written, perhaps, solely for the sake of entertaining, and the story, the fabulous acting, and the incredibly inventive props-cum-scenery all support that goal of excelling just because you can.

That’s not to diminish the story spun by Crazy In Love, which has con man and professional charmer Leon (Andrew Buckland) travelling the country for years searching for the woman who jilted him and their baby at the altar.

We catch up with him on the road with his now teenage daughter Ginny (Liezl de Kock) scamming and scanning the country in their endless, futile quest.

It’s a tragi-comedy created by A Conspiracy of Clowns, a collective of theatre makers including physical performers, writers, directors and designers. It’s their fourth work and has won several festival awards, and it’s now getting a mainstream airing at The Market Theatre.

Buckland and De Kock are brilliant, both separately and together. Buckland drives the show with his character changes as he morphs from the slick to the sick as the booze takes over, eroding him into a shambles of a man. He tells his tale elaborately and expressively, a master of mimicry and physical clowning in both sides of its happy/sad façade.

De Kock matches him in the clowning, shining in those scenes where the story enters madcap territory.

The tale was written by Buckland, De Kock and Rob Murray, who also directed the show and holds everything together perfectly. It’s wacky, but never stupid, poignant and immaculately timed, romping along at a pace that matches their road trip, with some reflective times along the way.

The set by Jayne Batzofin is the third star of the show, with a shopping trolley crammed impossibly high to form the travelling junk shop of two lives. There are bits that unfurl or fold out, a hidden shrine to Ginny’s missing mother, a stepladder that doubles as a chair. It’s as wackily inventive as the story and the characters, again showing the talent for off-the-wall thinking that makes this piece so striking.

While the image of Buckland oozing from one conning character into the next so superbly is the lingering memory, the ingenious clutter of their crazy lives is another lasting highlight.

Crazy in Love runs at the Market Theatre until April 12.

Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.

She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine.

Lesley was the Information Technology Editor for Business Day for 12 years before quitting to go freelance, specialising in travel & leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. Her absolute passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.

Lesley Stones
Freelance journalist
www.lesleystones.co.za

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Joburg Reviews Rolling Out…

So, we had our first preview last night (and more needs to be said about how awesome the whole event – pre-show, show, and Q&A – was), but today also heralds the beginning of the reviews coming out…

This one by Brian Trudgeon – originally posted here. Check out his blog on local theatre, happenings, food fests, eateries and watering holes: http://ontheplanks.co.za/

Respect and thank you, Brian.

You get theatre and then you get theatre. This is top drawer stuff. A Conspiracy of Clowns has hit it out of the park with Crazy in Love

Theatre is so diverse in nature that one is hard pressed to find a yardstick to measure it by. First I feel it must be entertaining. It must take you on a journey of escapism. Bonus points have to be awarded if it is provocative, and touches you emotionally. This production has it all in spades.

Crazy in Love takes you on a roller coaster journey, running a full gambit of emotions. At its beginnings it is laced with humour, and slowly spirals into an abyss, that is dark and sombre and leaves you reeling at its end. A sacrifice made. It was an incredible journey that had my heart pounding, and arms flecked with Goosebumps when the stage went dark.

The simple synopsis tells of a man (Leon) whose bride runs out on him leaving him holding the Baby (Ginny). Ginny grows up traveling with Leon in constant pursuit of her mother. Somehow she is never around that next corner. They never quite catch up to her, the interplay of longing and seeking.

We witness Leon’s disintegration into alcoholism, touched by the madness of love. His body covered in tattoos, as a testament to his love and madness. We witness Ginny who has perhaps a rose coloured view of the mother she does not know, reach adolescence. Her relationship with her mother is one constituted of a small shrine to her mom and the drunken recall of Leon. As she grows she yearns for independence. She is the child in an oft parental roll, taking care of her ever more despairing father.

There are so many human stories told in this piece that the audience can identify with. Love, betrayal, regret, the alcoholic parent, the catharsis of ink and the heavy emotional baggage we carry. It is all that and so much more. One does not go see this production, one experiences it. It is a masterpiece of storytelling that does incredible homage to it’s inspirations, yet it stands totally on its own as a remarkable work.

To speak of the Cast, Leon played by Andrew Buckland, left me in awe. My first encounter with Andrew, dates to the late 1980’s when a politically astute teacher took us to watch The Ugly Noo Noo. I don’t recall but I suspect it was at the Market Theatre. The same teacher also introduced us to, “Kippies”. Andrew truly is a master and  chameleon on stage, diverse, and completely engaging. He makes it easy to forget you are looking at a stage and not looking directly into a diorama of actual life.

Liezl De Kock plays as Ginny and gives a stellar performance. Liezl so beautifully portrays a child who has had to grow up too soon. She is the responsible adult, and is still childlike, in her fairy-tale imaginings of her mom at the altar she made. That altar is her confidant. You can feel that she wants the approval of her absent mother. She is also an adolescent with an awaking sexuality seeking guidance. The ease with which Liezl moves between these roles, the ones of her hard life and the ones of imagined construct are superb.

That Andrew and Liezl have both won many accolades for their theatrical work is no surprise. As a duo on stage their performance was electrifying. Theatrical greatness at it’s best. Bravo!

One must give a big salute to Rob Murray who directed Crazy in Love and created the lighting for the production. What a superb job. South Africa is a richer place for minds like his.  His work is oft described as ground breaking and one can see why. He has honed this production into a truly special piece.

A special mention must be made of Jayne Batzofin, who helped bring the production to life with her incredible design work on stage. The trolley that travels with Leon and Ginny is an artisan masterpiece. To reflect both the weight of the subject matter, the horror of life, childlike whimsy and a place to stay in a single prop full of surprises….. I cannot actually say enough about the design genius. The dancing shoes are a special and delightful element. You have to see it to appreciate it.

One cannot come away unmoved by this production. It is one that left me wanting to watch it again

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Let’s go, let’s go, Crazy!

Powerful, passionate and desperate – after winning over the festival fringe circuit in South Africa and abroad, the multiple award-winning production CRAZY IN LOVE has arrived in Johannesburg!

crazy card single

CRAZY IN LOVE is the tragicomic story of a father-daughter search for a missing bride and mother. Devised and performed by the inspirational pairing of Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock, CRAZY IN LOVE is presented by A Conspiracy of Clowns in association with the Market Theatre, under the direction of Rob Murray, with design by Jayne Batzofin.

When the independent and free-spirited Leon (Buckland) is abandoned at the altar by his bride to be, he is left literally holding the baby. From his grief comes a solemn resolve: to travel the country with his infant daughter, Ginny (De Kock), until he finds his lost love and pieces his family back together. His quest quickly becomes an obsession, and at each town they don’t find her, he tattoos that town name on his skin. It is now fifteen years later. Ginny is coming of age and starting to realise the desire to achieve her own independence, while Leon has retreated into alcoholism and despair – his body a roadmap of tattoos. As their individual obsessions spiral out of control, and they become lost in their own personal routines and mythologies, a massive shift in their relationship is imminent – if they have the courage and conviction to break out of their own cycles.

“This piece CRAZY IN LOVE is a basket full of such exciting elements. Andrew Buckland, Rob Murray and Liezl de Kock – it is an award-winning production that is going to wow Joburg audiences,” says James Ngcobo, artistic director of The Market Theatre.

The show comes hot off the fringe festival circuit, where it won the Best International Production at 2014 Amsterdam Fringe Festival and won the Standard Bank Ovation Award at 2013 National Arts Festival Fringe. It was also the top selling show on debut at 2013 National Arts Festival Fringe·and at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival 2014, and was a box office success at Witness Hilton Arts Festival in 2013.

With the stellar pedigree of Murray, Buckland, de Kock, and Batzofin, CRAZY IN LOVE has begun its premiere season in Johannesburg at the Barney Simon Theatre from 24 March to 12 April 2015. Performances are Tuesday to Saturday night at 20h15, with tickets ranging from R90-R180, and Sundays at 15:15, with tickets up to R130. Bookings are through Computicket with special rates for students/learners, block bookings, and pensioners. The production is not suitable for children and is rated 16 for violence and language. The performance runs at 65 minutes with no interval. Tickets are available at Computicket. Keep an eye out for #CrazyLoveJHB on Twitter.


Crazy in Love Visuals

As the dust settles post National Arts Festival, here are some visuals we’ve found online for our latest show, Crazy in Love. The first is an interview with Liezl and Andrew post-performance…

 

And the second, some thoughts from Liez about the presence of Afrikaans at the NAF, usually considered a mostly English festival (and featuring more clips from the show)…

 

We are busy working on a full debrief for the festival, and will share it all here…once we survive the schools’ festival!


Ovation Award for Crazy in Love!

With great excitement, and no small amount of pride, we are thrilled to announce that our brand new little beastie, Crazy in Love, has scooped a prestigious Standard Bank Ovation Award for 2013! The show is currently playing at the National Arts Festival Fringe where it is attracting enormous crowds, great feedback, new admirers, as well as floods of tears and gales of laughter. Come and check it if you haven’t yet – 5 performances left at this year’s festival!Conspiracy Profile Pic Ovation

 

Ovation Poster


Crazy in Love

“In increments both measurable and not, our childhood is stolen from us – not always in one momentous event but often in a series of small robberies, which add up to the same loss.”  John Irving – “Until I Find You”.

If you’re a John Irving fan, then you already know this book. And hopefully love it as much as we do. It (or rather an episode in it) proved to be one of the starting points for our new show, Crazy in Love. Not so much the part about Jack Burns becoming an actor and his tragicomic life, but the initial idea – the search by Jack and his mother during his ill-remembered childhood for his father.

And the tattoos. Of course.

Crazy in Love title

Crazy in Love is the heartbreaking tale of Leon (Andrew Buckland) who gets abandoned at the altar by his bride to be. He decides to take his daughter, Ginny (Liezl de Kock) on a countrywide search for her, vowing that he’ll “see her…when you’re standing in front of me”.

His quest quickly becomes an obsession, and at each town they reach where she isn’t, he tattoos that town name on his skin.

It is now some fifteen years later. Ginny is coming of age and starting to realise the desire to achieve her own independence, while he has retreated into alcoholism and despair and his body has become a veritable roadmap of tattoos. As their individual obsessions spiral out of control, and they become lost in their own personal routines and mythologies, a massive shift in their relationship is imminent – if they have the courage and conviction to break out of their own cycles.

Crazy in Love - Andrew Buckland as Dad & Liez de Kock as Ginny Tattoo Colour

 

Devised and performed by Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock under the direction of Rob Murray, with design by Jayne Batzofin, and told in a captivating blend of physical and visual performance, Crazy in Love is a paean to love and its ensuing madness. 

It is currently playing at the Glennie Hall at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. We’d dig you to come along and check it out!

 


End of the Year

Right now, this is *so* how we’re feeling. Happy holidays, mothertruckers!!