Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bad Blood Blues, Nov 19, 2011 ***

Bad Blood Blues
By Paul Sirett
Chapel off Chapel , 11 to 26 November, 2011
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert on November 19, 2011
Stars: *** 

Published in Herald Sun on Nov 23, 2011
Glenda Linscott & Blessing Mokgohloa in Bad Blood Blues. Photo by Simon Parris
More than 60 million Africans carry the HIV / AIDS virus and women are a disproportionate percentage of sufferers. Paul Sirett’s Bad Blood Blues is set against this terrifying reality.

Workaholic medical researcher, Clare (Glenda Linscott), is conducting a double-blind, drug trial in an undisclosed African country to test the effectiveness of two anti-retroviral treatments – including AZT – on a group of HIV-infected, African women.

Clare’s marriage to her project is almost derailed by her unexpected sexual relationship with 22-year old Patrice (Blessing Mokgohloa), whose initial, boyish innocence masks a deeper, sinister agenda about his sister who is an AIDS sufferer and participant in Clare’s trial.

Patrice’s deception and manipulation of Clare is the catalyst for the characters to explore and debate some weighty ethical issues arising from the conduct of drugs trials in third world countries.

The initial awkwardness between the characters gives way to a more relaxed communication only to explode into a passionate, then angry relationship.

This 70-minute production, tightly directed by Chris Parker, boasts fine performances by Linscott and Mokgohloa and is accompanied by the soulful, live guitar of David Marama.

Mokgohloa shifts cleverly from formal student to smart manipulator and Linscott gives Clare the edge of desperation of a driven, lonely woman masking her pain with overwork and alcohol.

If you like thought provoking, issues-based theatre, this production raises moral, ethical and political issues and questions the first world’s treatment of the developing world.

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