Theatre review: The System

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: The System, at Just the Tonic @ The Caves (Venue 88), review by Matt Trueman.

Three prisoners – all of them black and all of them innocent – escape a South African jail and start running. One takes a bullet in the leg; another evades a dog’s bite. Now, holed up in an ex-girlfriend’s bedroom (with her new lover holed up in the trunk), they recount the stories behind their convictions.

The suggestion is of a nation that, even two decades after the end of apartheid, still jumps to conclusions; a population that starts life with the odds stacked against them, be it on account of Aids, poverty or a dog-eat-dog society.

A five-strong ensemble play all this with a tumbling energy, miming their way through hefty narratives at top speed. It’s a surprisingly rich piece of poor theatre and individual moments are impressively clear.

While the overarching drive of Kgosana Thekwana’s narrative occasionally gets lost, Alex Motswiri’s cast achieve a well-drilled shapeshifter of a show, with plenty of madcap humour and a lush sense of locality.

MORE INFO: The System, at Just the Tonic @ The Caves until 25 August. Today 10:30am

Originally appeared in The Scotsman

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