In the Continuum

Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter

It is delightful to report that this remarkable Off-Broadway phenomenon has made a smooth transition to Edinburgh.

This is a two-hander about deprivation and AIDS in two countries, written and performed by a pair of prodigiously talented young ladies still less than two years out of New York University.

They play two women whose lives seem utterly different but begin to converge as the fates turn against them. Abigail, played by Danai Gurira, is a newsreader on ZBC (Dead BC to its viewers) in Zimbabwe, one of the great and the good of her society. By way of contrast, Nikkole Salter's Nia is a sassy nineteen year old American living in the 'hoods of LA.

While Abigail is happily married with a son and a good career, Nia is on probabtion, has lost her job and her prospects of a happy life with a ball star boyfriend seem slim.

Their lives change instantly and simultaneously when each first discovers that she is pregnant and then that she has contracted AIDS. The delivery of this message, with the two stories from across the world overlapping, is both very clever and incredibly powerful.

From there, they have to come to terms with the news and then pluck up courage to confront the philandering men who have left them and their unborn children condemned to an uncertain future.

The attraction of this show, well directed by Robert O'Hara, is a structure that not only has the two writers playing their main roles, never quite overlapping though with various points of intersection, but also every other part. This showcases their talent as character actresses and introduces the audience to some fantastic comic creations including Probation Patty, a couple of mothers and, best of all, Miss Gurira as a witch doctor.

In the Continuum achieves a number of goals. It shows woman's predicament in the face of AIDS and inconsiderate men; demonstrates that the problems of LA and Harare can both be equally Third World; and proves that with enough talent, unknowns can break straight into theatre and tour the world.

You may shed tears of both laughter and empathy during In the Continuum. What higher recommendation can there be?

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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