Solomon and Marion, Birmingham Rep – review

Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 10:54 AM | Review by: Georgina Ramsay | Afridiziak Star Rating:
Janet Suzman, Khayalethu Anthony in Lara Foot's Solomon and Marion © Jesse Kramer Janet Suzman, Khayalethu Anthony in Lara Foot's Solomon and Marion © Jesse Kramer

In one hour and fifteen minutes we see the lives of two virtual strangers intertwine as they seek to fill the void in each other’s heart in a poignant tale of struggle and redemption.


South African-born veteran actress Dame Janet Suzman and newcomer to mainstream theatre, Khayalethu Anthony, star in Lara Foot’s ‘Solomon and Marion’. Set in their native South Africa the play tells the story of two very different characters battling similar demons amidst the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa.


Marion is a divorced mother of two who has chosen an isolated existence in her home after her son’s death and the subsequent breakdown of her marriage left her spiritless and permanently stuck in the past. The entirety of the play is set in Marion’s home, which only highlights her lack of vigour. Distant from her family - both geographically and emotionally – her only comfort is her trusty packet of cigarettes.


The play begins by Marion’s persistent intruder being revealed as Solomon, the grandson of her former servant. Immediately establishing her deadpan humour she instructs Solomon to be “quick about it” if he intends to kill her. Although there is a suspicious element to Solomon’s fierce determination to enter Marion’s life he still manages to come across as charming and impossible to dislike. Despite their generational and racial differences Solomon’s frequent visits to Marion’s home allow the pair to form an unlikely friendship founded on mutual empathy.


Janet Suzman and Khayalethu Anthony in Solomon and Marion, by Ruphin Coudyzer Janet Suzman and Khayalethu Anthony in Solomon and Marion, by Ruphin Coudyzer

The stellar performances from both Suzman and Anthony mean the cast of two never feels limiting. Anthony in particular delivers a convincing performance and handles comedic acting as well as his emotional charged scenes.


Through the eyes of the two principal characters we see two very different sides to post-apartheid South Africa accompanied by the occasional allusions to greater struggles than beyond those of the two characters. In one hour and fifteen minutes we see the lives of two virtual strangers intertwine as they seek to fill the void in each other’s heart in a poignant tale of struggle and redemption.


Info: Solomon and Marion is at Birmingham Repertory Theatre until 1 November – book tickets and at The Print Room, London from 4 – 29 November – book tickets


Related links

Khayalethu Anthony - interview



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