The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe @ The Purcell Room (Southbank Centre) Review

From Sunday 1st to Sunday 8th March, The Southbank Centre marks the achievements of women the world over of both past and present as part of their 5th annual Women of the World Festival. Curating a unique and compelling festival of discussions, debates, performances, art installations and film showings, the festival’s aim is to shine a bright light on the accomplishments of unsung female heroes.

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe

Uniting the voices of four remarkable women, The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe present a piece of defiant political theatre spearheading the need for a dialogue to commence for the rights of the female protagonist presenting their stories. Once upon a time, there was a woman in red, a woman in blue, a woman in yellow and a woman in white… Thanks to this production…. these four seemingly fictional characters are brought to life, each character telling the audience of the injustices they have all faced, the unforgiveable sexual abuse they have suffered, the warfare they have witnessed and the separation of family they have had to endure.

These stories are broken up by interludes of comic relief, from a quiz show inspired section testing the audience’s knowledge of Africa, to dance sequences offering a slice of Nigerian, Ghanaian, Eritrean and South African culture. Projections, from a yellow house on a hill, to chilling quotations that transition from left to white on a black background depicting the pathetic excuses of the attackers, the production continually shifts from country to country, further highlighting the fact that these injustices are sadly continually happening. Projections of the protagonists walking through forests as they simultaneously speak of their harrowing experiences haunt, and the African inspired material that encompasses the entirety of the stage adds a beautiful visual aesthetic.

This performance is the beginnings of a very powerful piece of political theatre that structurally needs refining. There are a myriad of ideas waiting to be transformed into a series of plays, but the production’s heart lies in the testimonials of the four protagonists that refuse to be silenced! I look forward to watching future work from this troupe! 3/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe was on at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre from Thursday 5th-Saturday 7th March 2015. The show will be on at the Sydney Opera House from Wednesday 25th to Sunday 29th March 2015, for more information, visit here…

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