New Wimbledon Theatre & Touring
Dodgy Clutch in association with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg.
Director: Ozzie Riley
Reviewed by Francesca Elliott
Elephant tells the story of an African chief who having died, is denied entrance to heaven. Confused, he asks his ancestors for help and they advise him to revisit his past to see where he went wrong. Accompanied by a devil he visits scenes from his childhood, his coming of age ceremony and his wedding.
At every stage there is eveidence of his jealousy and anger and we see him break the laws of his tribe by ignoring the sanctity of elephants by killing one with a gun he has been given by 'the pink men'.
Elephant is a vibrant mixture of African and Western dance, song, music and puppetry and captivated the audience's attention from the very first scene.The elephant puppets were amazing, incredibly lifelike and managed to convey such a sense of spirituality and soul that we could easily understand how killing one could deny a person access to heaven.
The costumes were simple and bright, adding to the sense of energy brought by the performers. The moments of comedy and poignancy were nicely balanced, and apart from an eneding which felt a bit unfinished, this was one of the most interesting and enjoyable performances I've seen in ages.