South Africa: War, Present and Past, a Thread Which Binds Two Excellent Stage Productions in Cape Town

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The collateral damage and human cost of war, present and past, are explored in David Kramer's reworking of a 1990s musical, 'Poison', now titled, 'Danger in the Dark', as well as in a searing adaptation of Francois Smit's award-winning Anglo-Boer War novel 'Kamphoer' -- both on at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Back in the early 1990s when David Kramer and his long-time collaborator, Taliep Petersen, first penned Poison, a musical set in the ganglands of the Cape Flats, few investors were interested in funding the production.

At the time, recalls producer Rene Kramer, there was no appetite for a gritty stage exploration of the relentless and volatile violence of the Cape Flats, territory carved into gang strongholds where crime and drugs have devastated communities forcibly moved there by the apartheid government from the 1950s onwards.

It was potentially a local work-over of the 1962 Broadway sensation, West Side Story, itself an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in the mean gang-ridden streets of New York's West Side in the 1950s.

In that sense, Poison, Kramer explains in his programme note for Danger in the Dark, now on at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, became an evolving...

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