Theatre Review: Aida Abridged – Pyramid Scheming, Or Desert Duets

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By BRUCE DENNILL

Aida Abridged / Directed by Greg Homann / Auto & General Theatre On The Square, Sandton, Johannesburg

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Aida Abridged. Add some more A-related alliteration: ambition and absurdity. Director Greg Homann’s idea to take Verdi’s opera, which takes in international conflict and cross-cultural romance and strip it down to two actors and a one-man orchestra is both daft and, cleverly handled as it is, remarkably effective.

That latter facet has much to do with the decision to keep the story away from the farce that is part and parcel of other abridged classics. There is plenty of opportunity for it – a muffled “Oh, bollocks” would be an hilarious insert into a particularly frantic segment as the king of Ethiopia stubs his toe. But amid the rush involved in portraying two royal families and a couple of feuding armies with just two actors, the story is told as close to the original as the format allows, making it an intriguing crossover between the full…

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