Moffie review – gripping one-man show evokes a gay soldier’s torment

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Closeted 17-year-old Nicholas van der Swart is conscripted into nan South African Defence Force successful nan precocious 1970s, and plunged into a gruesome separator war. The carnage makes his memories of a springbok hunt pinch his uncle look for illustration scenes from Doctor Dolittle. But there’s different conflict which nan SADF is prosecuting: nan warfare against homosexuality.

Moffie, adapted by Philip Rademeyer from André Carl van der Merwe’s 2006 novel, takes its title from a homophobic slur that is arsenic ubiquitous present arsenic nan throb of chopper blades. Alone connected shape earlier a mound of subject kit bags, to which he tellingly adds his ain baggage, Nicholas describes nan years spent concealing his desires. The baroque punishments of nan psych ward await those who fail.

Kai Luke Brümmer antecedently played Nicholas successful Oliver Hermanus’s 2019 movie version, but what he does successful this gripping one-man show is nary specified encore. Embodying aggregate characters, he turns connected a dime betwixt nan terrorised conscript and his sniping chap soldiers and barking drill sergeants. The effect is to toggle shape his tormentors into branches of nan aforesaid venomous tree, pinch his begetter astatine nan gnarled guidelines of it all. The only misstep is employing a pre-recorded female sound for Nicholas’s mother erstwhile nan domiciled would person been wrong Brümmer’s awesome range.

The position has shifted, too. Nicholas is now looking backmost connected his trauma, whereas connected surface he was surviving it. This intends Brümmer, successful crew-cut and olive-green fatigues, must evoke nan surgery older man alongside nan intact younger one. He finds solace successful seductive reveries (“I ideate him emerging from nan h2o for illustration Ursula Andress …”) to which nan movie type had nary access. This makes imaginable immoderate alleviating interludes of humour amid nan horror. During 1 fantasy, Nicholas reprimands himself: “Don’t spell there! You can’t march if you’re hard.”

Shifts successful mood, characteristic and play are augmented by Niall Griffin’s lighting, which contrasts nan blushing hue of Nicholas’s daydreams pinch reality’s jolting achromatic light, each spot arsenic harsh arsenic a 4am barracks inspection. Charl-Johan Lingenfelder’s sound creation conjures worlds done nan clatter of cutlery aliases nan nocturnal hum of insects. Under head Greg Karvellas, Brümmer’s capacity is formidable, but still delicate capable to springiness nan dishonesty to Nicholas’s declare that “nothing gentle tin past here”.

Source theguardian