The stage of Paradise in Augustine's burst into life yesterday evening as the cast of Africa Calling announced their presence with song and dance.
Performed by the Grassroots Theatre Company of Zimbabwe, The 50-minute show is actually more a collection of stories and sketches loosely tied together into bite-sized chunks between music and dance. Not surprising considering the company is more used to teaching children as part of an educational programme.
The troupe excel at the music and dance sections of the performance. It’s clear they are driven and have heart towards what they are doing. Sadly, the same does not translate during the short dialogue portions. While the cast of five do their best with the material, the basic nature of the stories is often lost in unfortunate translations.
The effect leaves you wondering why, in such a short piece, would you even include such sections other than to ‘pad out’ what would have been an even shorter routine. Amidst all of this, you may learn a little of the great continent's culture but don’t expect a great story.
At the end of the day, Africa Calling’s message is the most important aspect. They perform in the name of peace, brotherhood and equality. Their song and dance will bring a smile to even the most stony hearted in the audience and for those reasons alone, it’s worth a try.
Show Times: 8 – 27 Aug 2012, 5.55pm
Ticket Prices: £10 (£8 conc - £7.50 family)