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The South Afreakins – 4*

The South Afreakins

VAULT Festival

Press Night – 15 February 2017


“A short show that packs so much in. Unique”

The show starts with two voices heard off stage, a couple, a South African couple, engaged in the type of semi-banal conversation any long wed pair might have. Once the action moves on stage though, we see there is only one performer. The South Afreakins is a sharp one woman show featuring two main characters.

Robyn Paterson (actress and writer of the show) converses with herself as retirees Helene and George. She portrays both characters effortlessly in a unique style. You do start to think after a few minutes though how this can work throughout a show that’s over an hour long but do not fret; this show works, and has some surprises along the way to keep you watching. Apart from the vocal differences, Paterson also reveals the different personalities through her adept use of mannerisms and body language.

Helene is determined to leave everything behind and start again in the sheep filled hills of New Zealand. Gordon’s dream is to stay right where he is. When they finally immigrate to New Zealand, the result is heart-breaking and hilarious as they discover it’s hard work to find “home.”

The show will have you smiling gently with its warm and cosy humour  – the duck in the chimney and Helene’s bizarre excitement at getting her senior citizen’s free bus pass are among the scenes that will keep you chuckling. But the show has a deeper more melancholic side to it; it’s about real life so expect touching issues relating to getting old, spending a lifetime together and realising how fleeting time together can be.

It’s a brilliantly observed work, capturing the characters’ idiosyncratic moments perfectly. For a short show it packs so much in as well – South African culture, immigration, sadness, hope, joy and happiness all feature.

The show is truly unique, a wistful tale of life and spirit, enacted in a most original way. Definitely one to see.


The South Afreakins runs until 19th February