By Siya Ngcobo
Scott Sparrow has taken the saying “back by popular demand” to its core. He is back in Grahamstown bubbling with versatile talent that incorporates mime, physical theatre, comedy, caricature and many more surprises. This is all in the one-man adventure he terms The Performers Travel Guide. It’s in the forgotten village of Curtain Call that the audience begins a theatrically inspired journey accelerated by the exciting characters they meet.
Mrs Popcsieski obsessively fishes for a blue whale in no more than a bath tub with a piece of string. Her
husband sells fish at the market and that’s where we encounter the hilarious characters like Peter Brook, the Brechts, Butoh and others that live on this eastern European coast. Their son Ivan and his friendship with the tutu become the mirrors in which forgotten theatre forms are reflected.
He encounters Manuelle, a Spanish performer who proceeds to outline for him the origins of the tutu and
passes it down to Ivan. In this heartwarming and physically-invested show, Sparrow transforms the stage, himself and inanimate objects into a range of delightful laughs fuelled by a relevant dissection of the performing body and the arts as we know it.
Sparrow was himself a Rhodes student. He graduated with Honours in 2004 and has starred in many
productions including Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 2003 with Dion van Niekerk. He has also directed a series of Rhodes drama plays including some of Ubom! Company’s plays.
Never before has someone used so much physical discipline while incorporating such a range of performance styles as he has. He has a natural and unique flair for the stage and charisma that is very hard to beat.
He has remarkably perfected physical theatre, creating a distinct style that his predecessors such as Andrew Buckland whipped out. Although he presents a very intertextual discussion that may potentially throw or alienate certain audience members, he welcomes them back with his humorous physical charm.
His exploration of the performer’s journey can be read as a universal struggle that many perfomers
can relate to. Even the audience member who hasn’t been exposed to theatre of this kind comes out with
excitement. The story line was great; the comedy and physical investment was tremendous. It’s needless to say that this performance was an inspired and hysterically moving journey of the arts as we know it.