SHADOW BOXING. Director/Choreographer: Mdu Kweyama. Cast: Daniel Newton. Masambe Theatre at the Baxter.
BEVERLEY BROMMERT reviews
A lustrous performance from Daniel Newton does ample justice to the nuanced text of Shadow Boxing, a challenging one-hander by English playwright James Gaddas.
It confirms Newton’s fresh presence on the stage as an up-and-coming actor of note, his talent adroitly showcased by the sagacity and experience of a seasoned director like Mdu Kweyama.
With minimal assistance from set, props and costume, Newton traces the evolving awareness of self-identity and orientation which dawns on Flynn, a gay boxer. A punch-bag, a suit-jacket, a pair of gloves and a dilapidated bucket constitute the sum of what is needed to evoke the multiple situations and scenarios taking Flynn forward on his journey – a journey at once daunting and exhilarating.
Intensity of portrayal
The magic ingredient to make it credible and hold the audience in thrall for over an hour is the intensity of portrayal from the sole actor, and it is here that Newton shows his mettle with astonishing maturity. He rings the changes from diffident to aggressive, with many a mood in between, every one of them authentically conveyed.
By the time the dénouement arrives, audience members feel they have made the acquaintance of an intriguing, complex individual who exemplifies the dichotomy of human nature, a metaphor for which is suggested by the boxer’s hands. Hands that can destroy or create, caress flesh or beat it to a bloody pulp…
Haunting, poignant, and well-paced, this is one-handed theatre at its best.
What: Shadow Boxing
Where and when: Baxter Masambe Theatre from 4 to 21 May 2022