Blood Knot Review: BaxterBLOOD KNOT. by Athol Fugard. Directed by James Ngcobo. With Francois Jacobs and Mncedisi Shabangu. Baxter Theatre Golden Arrow Studio.


So, Blood Knot. Fugard. Famous. A worldwide phenomenon. And still, it pulls you in, twists you around, unsettles your feelings, gently spits you out.

The Golden Arrow Studio is rearranged to make the space theatre in the round. As much as I love watching actors in this three-dimensional way, I also don’t like seeing the other audience members. This time I didn’t need to worry. I was so absorbed by the brilliant performances I did not have eyes for anything else.

Blood Knot is old. So old that pen pals were a thing, and you could find them in the classifieds of most newspapers. Still. This play, this long conversation between two brothers, one light skinned and could pass for white, and one dark skinned and only black, transcends its time and stands up as beautiful writing, an aching, repetitive and messy relationship, and the ever-present oppression of apartheid that drags everything into the mud.

So satisfying to watch

Yes, this production comes with awards and accolades, and for a good reason. It is beautiful and funny and rousing and profound to watch. James directs the two actors in the most wonderful dance – movement, gesture, silence, word, cry, emotion. And these actors are beyond. They are everything. From the smallest look to the terrifying howl. And they are acutely responsive to each other. It is so satisfying to watch.

I didn’t think that I could love another production of Blood Knot, but I do. I love Nadya Cohen’s props and set, Mannie Manim’s strange and wonderful lighting, and Noluthando Lobese’s period costumes. Naturally I love Fugard’s old and beautiful words, but mostly I love Francois Jacobs and Mncedisi Shabangu as brothers Morrie and Zach.

Go. Just go.

What: Blood Knot

Where and when: Baxter Theatre from 11 to 28 May 2022

Tickets: Webtickets