Theatre Review: SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill is a staggeringly beautiful piece, inspired by a little-known World War One tragedy

Good morning readers – just a quick reminder that I’m on holidays until late October! The good news is, I’ve got plenty scheduled between now and then, so happy reading!

In February 1917, just 11 miles off the coast of the Isle of Wight, the SS Mendi, carrying more than 800 souls to the Western Front, was struck by another ship and sank into the ocean. 646 men, mostly black and mostly volunteers, drowned.

The little-known tragedy was recently explored in Fred Khumalo‘s excellent Dancing the Death Drill, and it’s this novel that serves as inspiration for this outstanding piece of choral music and theatre, from Cape Town’s Isango Ensemble.

Continue reading “Theatre Review: SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill is a staggeringly beautiful piece, inspired by a little-known World War One tragedy”

Live Review: Chamber ensemble The Boxties bring folk like you’ve never heard it before to the Cremorne

Brisbane creative collective The Boxties (that’s “box-tees” not “box-ties”) have returned to the QPAC stage, with A Net of Souls: Songs of Dislocation and Common Ground. The ten piece chamber ensemble have pulled together a collection of songs of change, upheaval, and a longing for community. Industry, love, and war all come forward as disruptions, and are present in the stories told through a blend of folk music, transformed poetry, and gentle narration.

Continue reading “Live Review: Chamber ensemble The Boxties bring folk like you’ve never heard it before to the Cremorne”