Exits and Entrances (4 stars)

This article is from 2007.

No business like show business.

In Athol Fugard’s insightful new play, we find celebrated South African actor Andre Huguenet (Morlan Higgins) reflecting on all that he has sacrificed for his theatre career which is now reaching its end.

Beginning with the playwright (William Dennis Hurley) stumbling across his old mentor’s obituary, we delve back in time in his memory to 1956 when Huguenet was at the height of his career, playing Oedipus and the playwright was a lowly dresser with a bit-part and ambition. The story focuses on their budding relationship, based on Fugard’s own relationship with Huguenet. It then goes on to explore how their dynamic has evolved when they meet for the final time years later.

Directed by Stephen Sachs, it’s a gently humorous, slow moving and reflective piece examining the toll time can take on your dreams and ambitions. When the pair reunite, Huguenet is uncomfortably reminded of his youthful aspirations which have fallen by the wayside as the playwright expresses his passion for creating theatre that can make a difference, theatre about all South Africans not just Afrikaner whites. Huguenet advises him to do drawing room dramas instead. It’s a touching tale of one man’s exit, too tired to fight anymore and another man’s entrance as he realises his theatre might make a difference. Theatre is constantly evolving, each new generation wanting to make their mark, this play exposes this cycle with perfect clarity, using these two men as a metaphor.

Higgins’ Huguenet is a giant of a man, played with passion and candour, who becomes vulnerable in his dressing room as he is physically and emotionally exposed. A beautifully told story of entrances and exits, dreams and aspirations.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 23), 3.20pm, £12–£13 (£10–£11) .

Exits and Entrances

  • 4 stars

Athol Fugard's celebrated account of a life in the theatre of the 50s and 60s gets its European premiere after an acclaimed run in America. That it is the South African theatre at the time of apartheid adds a political edge to a moving story. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007'.

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