Tuesday, 21 March 2006

The Wave by Ellis & Bheki (South Africa), March 21, 2006

The Wave by Ellis and Bheki (South Africa)
 Commonwealth Games Arts Festival

Fed Square Amphitheatre and Alexander Gardens Palm Stage until March 23, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on March 21, 2006

Ellis and Bheki, from South Africa, perform The Wave outdoors in the enclosed space of the Fed Square Amphitheatre. It is an intimate story-telling show so they invite the audience to sit close on the ground around their performance arena.

They wear microphones so we can hear their lyrical stories stimulated by the Asian Tsunami.

The pair shifts between telling the story as themselves and from the perspective of two elephants sent to clean up the aftermath of the wave.

Their physical portrayal of the elephants is inspired and stylised. They move as if in a dance, the lumbering elephants transformed into graceful movers, trumpeting with huge horns and howling when injured.

As they search for human bodies, one (Ellis) finds his mahoot, the man who tended his injured leg after he was captured by hunters then trained him as a tourist ride.

The other elephant (Bheki) tells how he was hunted and transported to the Singapore zoo from Africa and how, in his anger, he killed a keeper. He, too, was rescued and now helps in the clean up after the Tsunami.

There is pain and anguish in the elephants’ tales but the show is compelling for small children and adults alike, some of whom participate in the story.

By Kate Herbert

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