Review : Renaissance @ The Alexander Upstairs

 

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Another date night with my darling #zlotybaby at one of our favourite venues the Alexander Upstairs…

Renaissance is the story of Leon, a socially awkward South African guy doing that typical expat stint in London. He is a failed actor who has ended up taking up a job as a security guard at the National Gallery in London. Leon is from one of those small backwater towns (probably somewhere in the Northern Suburbs :P) where it isn’t much fun growing up, especially as a young gay guy.

Like many of us at one stage in our lives, Leon leaves his homeland hoping that all his dreams will come true in the metropolis. As is usually the case, things don’t go according to plan. Not only does he find himself doing what is possibly the most boring job in the world ever but he also sees his five year relationship come to a miserable end.

However, things start to look up for the protagonist as he strikes up a little ‘romance’ with Yoram, a Syrian refugee who works in the gallery gift shop. Yoram gives Leon a bit of a masterclass in art appreciation and (through the protagonist’s eyes) we see the artworks coming to life during long night shifts at the gallery.  Each of the renaissance paintings has a story and Leon can draw parallels between them and things going on in his own life.

The play was quirky, clever and brilliantly un-PC, which we totally loved (although possibly not something you want to view with a Churchy Tinder date!). The acting from David Viviers who plays Leon as well as Jazzara Jaslyn and Len-Barry Simons was excellent and the jokes were on point. The play also touched on a lot of real-life issues – the challenges of being an expat in a foreign land, the highs and lows of inter-cultural dating, that gut-wrenching moment you cross paths with the ex you just wish had never existed and hopeless stage in our lives when you reach your mid 30s and realise you are not quite where you wanted to be.

The play covers a lot of ground in just over an hour and it’s definitely thought provoking (I mean how often to we get to hear Mother Mary’s opinion of all that went down in that Christmas story!). If you are looking for a bit of theatre that is slightly different from the norm then go see Renaissance.  The Alexander Upstairs is a pretty intimate venue and the opening night had a full house so I’d recommend booking your tickets ASAP.

 

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