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Art

Play tackles toxic relationships

Victoria Gichora
Victoria Gichora and Joseph Chege in Dangerous Love. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU  

Victoria Gichora has been absent from the theatre scene for quite some time. Same with Jack Chege. So it was good to see them both back on stage in a two-hander, directed and produced by Esther Kamba of Sifa Productions.

They were a perfect fit for Wesley Jordan’s Dangerous Love, a play that literally revealed how life-threatening romantic love can be. Everybody knows that the initial infatuation and glow of that kind of love can wear off soon after a relationship settles into a routine, be it marriage or “come-we-stay”. It is a sad reality, but it’s also one of the main reasons why many marriages don’t last.

But this play looks at one couple, Renee and Ray, as if through a microscope to reveal all the insidious incidents of careless unkindness, insensitivity, insincerity and of course, infidelity that occur when two people get together precipitously.

Cleverly staged, the writer crafts the story initially as a series of alternating monologues, each one sharing his/her true feelings when we the audience are the one he/she is speaking to.

They can be sitting side by side on a sofa but when either one is expressing their true feelings about the other, he/she is apparently out of listening distance. It’s a tricky tactic because they are constantly alternating between two different perspective. At the same time, it exposes the reality of being “two-faced”. The relationship starts off on a bad foot. She knows a man can say almost anything to get what he wants. But he also knows she wants to get married and so, he blindly complies. But he seems to already know he’s making a mistake. But he chooses not to get out. Same with her. But as their relationship gets uglier and uglier, they still stick. They get closer and closer to killing each other, and maybe one of them finally does.

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Meanwhile, the actors have the rhythm and timing to make this insightful show work beautifully. It may sound bloody but it’s also very funny, especially as who knows how many couples can identify with Renee and Roy’s experience.

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