The Fall

In a month where white supremacists have marched through the streets over Charlottesville in protest against the removal of a Confederate statue, there could not be a more relevant time to tell the story of #Rhodesmustfall. Baxter Theatre’s The Fall is a fiery and energetic piece about the students of Cape Town University who, in 2015, demanded the removal the of the statue of white colonialist, Cecil Rhodes. Their protest garnered world-wide attention and prompted an avalanche of similar demonstrations elsewhere. This fast-paced ensemble piece follows seven student protesters, exploring their attempts to collectively navigate the political situation in which they find themselves.

This punchy production deals thoughtfully with complex subject matter, while at all times remaining lively in its execution.

This story is beautifully brought to life by the seven-strong ensemble of actors, who interact with a wonderful and lively chemistry. The bare simplicity of the stage and the minimal use of tech throughout the show places the further scrutiny on the cast, none of whom disappoint in their characterisation or expression. Equally impressive is the way in which the show navigates complex political questions with easy elegance. How can the protestors balance symbolic victories with observable social change? How can they build a movement which is feminist and decolonising? Abstract and complex questions are rendered tangible and exciting through their pithy dialogue.

The production is also to be applauded for its incorporation of sound. There is no pre-recorded music, instead the cast sing and use table-top percussion to provide a vivid musical backdrop. The show also features projection, with the backwall periodically lit up with footage taken from the Cape Town protests. The dramatic images merge well with the performer’s speech, lending their words a sense of realness and immediacy.

This punchy production deals thoughtfully with complex subject matter, while at all times remaining lively in its execution. 

Reviews by Nuri Syed Corser

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The Blurb

When the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was dismantled at the University of Cape Town, seven postgraduates wrote this searing, insightful play about race, class, gender, sexism, colonialism and ideologies of patriarchy. It took South Africa by storm during the #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall and subsequent student movements' demonstrations in 2015. Seeking to unpack discrimination in all its forms, the play does not offer solutions to the questions raised by the movements which inspired it, but hopes to create and nurture dialogue.

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