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Review: Significant Other is the play that you should see before your next Tinder date

2018-06-15 08:00
Significant Other
Significant Other (Photo: Daniel Rutland Manners/Supplied)

Cape Town – Significant Other is a play that asks the question: Is it possible to be happy without finding a romantic partner to share your life with? It’s a powerful question that ties together the life paths of each of the characters in the play, which has been on Broadway in New York.  

The writer behind it, Joshua Harmon (who also wrote the popular play Bad Jews) uses his lead character, named Jordan Berman, to explore that question and not necessarily find an answer but rather to grapple with the gravitas of the notion in today’s Tinder-obsessed society that is so often built for two. 

Jordan is played – in the South African production currently on at The Fugard – by Gabriel Meltz. Meltz attended CalArts and appeared in a production of Hamlet at the Santa Monica Miles Memorial Playhouse and also starred in a short independent film titled Somber Pines. His background in the American arts industry has clearly given him a knack for the yankee accent as his is believable and that is a tricky feet (sometimes) for South African actors. His ill at ease portrayal of Jordan encapsulates the protagonist’s desperate demeanour in the soul-crushing quest for love. 

Meltz is effortlessly supported by Dominique Maher as Kiki; Lesoko Seabe as Vanessa; Lucy Tops as Laura; Michèle Maxwell as Helene; Roberto Kyle as Gideon/Evan/Rodger and Ryan de Villiers as Will/Conrad/Tony. The cast bounce off each other well and have built up a rhythm that supports the fast dialogue. My favourite parts were the interactions between Jordan, Kiki, Vanessa and Laura all together. 

The most insightful moments in the play that really gave me a glimpse of beating heart of the script were between Helene and her grandson Jordan, because those were the times that the protagonist’s greatest fears were unpacked even though he hardly ever spoke about himself I felt like, after those chats with his gran, I really began to understand why acted the way he did in his romantic interactions.  

Significant Other

As usual at The Fugard, the set design is beautiful, and every detail has been thought of; the creative team’s Wolf Britz did a great job. Director Greg Karvellas did well to let the story speak beneath the jokes and witty one liners. I think he did so by really letting the actor’s shine in their roles. 

My favourite performance was by Lesoko Seabe as Vanessa because she felt so relatable in her role that I understood what her character was thinking before she even spoke her acerbic dialogue which always elicited rapturous laughter from the crowd. 

Significant Other
(Photos: Daniel Rutland Manners/Supplied)

Go see this play if you want to think about interpersonal relationships and how they help us define ourselves and our own happiness. Or…if you just want to laugh a lot at things that we have all done in our personal lives. 

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