ThaTha

This one hour whirlwind of African song, dance and music from Zimbabwe-based Siyaya Arts is pure happiness. From their rainbow-coloured clothing to their beaming smiles and electric energy, the entire troupe radiates positivity – lifting our spirits and filling our hearts.

A talented section of musicians crack out mind boggling rhythms on drums and marimbas that vibrate through the floor, up through the audiences’ feet and into their bodies which respond by dancing around in their seats as they clap along and whoop in appreciation. These beats swirl through the air, combining with the soulful notes from the singers and dynamism from the dancers to produce a heady happiness cocktail. At one point the cast ask the audience to sing along – very dangerous to ask for enthusiastic participation from a British audience – but everyone was so drunk on enjoyment that we attacked the African verse with gusto.

In this excitable atmosphere it is easy to get carried away with the emotion and fail to register just how technically demanding the production really is. The exceptionally complicated rhythms, close harmonies and energy sapping dance routines are often all performed simultaneously – demonstrating the casts’ vast skill set. A particularly wonderful segment is one in which the two female members perform an astounding dance in traditional dress, managing to balance pottery jars on their heads whilst committing to hugely energetic, fast movement with their bodies - any etiquette school mistress would be proud.

ThaTha translates as ‘please take’, and this embodies the spirit of this genuine, straight from the heart, unpretentious performance; it is a gift from the performers who simply want to bring joy to those who behold it. It is a fantastic ambassadorial piece to bring a taste of African arts to those unfamiliar with them, and an unbridled pleasure to witness.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

Fresh from Africa, colourful, climactic and bursting at the seams with energy, the spectacular celebration of song, dance and life in Africa returns to Edinburgh. ThaTha means Please Take. Uncovers the joys of life in the traditional and contemporary.

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