City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Girl in the Yellow Dress Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 07 August 2010

Girl intheYellowDress_by_Ruphin Coudyzer (2).JPG
Show details
Traverse Theatre
Citizens Theatre (Glasgow), LIVE Theatre (Newcastle) and Market Theatre (Johannesburg)
Running time: 
Malcolm Purkey (director), Gary McCann (designer), Nomvula Molepo (lighting design)
Marianne Oldham (Celia), Nat Ramabulana (Pierre)

Paris in the Spring. A time when “...a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love...” (Tennyson).

A hopeful time. We know it’s Spring because of the vase full of daffodils, the only bright colour in the significantly black and white, stark, stylish Parisian apartment. But the low strain of a slow cello hints at melancholy, darkness and the unknown as the theatre slowly fills.

Award winning writer Craig Higginson says about The Girl in the Yellow Dress“... [it] is deeply about South Africa and not about South Africa at all”.

Written in five parts, with each part’s title appearing as confused letters on the spines of the tutor’s bookshelves that are suddenly divulged to make sense – The Passive, Narrative Tenses, The Conditional, Lies and Truth and Degrees of Uncertainty. Like much of the characters’ dialogue, that involves detailed grammatical references, these are metaphors for what is going on between the characters.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress tells the story of the relationship between Celia, (Marianne Oldham) a young and beautiful white English teacher living in Paris, and Pierre (Nat Ramabulana), a young and handsome black French-Congolese pupil. It takes the audience through their private lessons showing the shifting balance and blurring dynamics of their developing and disturbing relationship.

Underlying these are racial, sexual and class tensions, as well as the confronting of personal conflicts, revealed secrets and coming to terms with the past. The two talented young actors in this tense and sometimes shocking play give strong and convincing performances of two people from separate worlds crossing each other’s barriers.

This is European premiere of The Girl in the Yellow Dress. It goes on tour in the UK, South Africa and Sweden.

Show Times
Times vary (10.15am / 1pm / 3.45pm / 6.30pm / 9.15pm / 9.30pm)
Thu 5 – Sun 29 August

Ticket prices
Sun – Thu: £15 (£11 conc. / £6 unemployed)
Fri – Sun: £17 (£12 conc.)