[Theatre Review] Prize Fighter

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Prize Fighter La Boite Theatre, September 09:

They say that there is a story in each of us that needs to be told to the world.

Prize Fighter the new play written by Future D. Fidel is a story that will shock you, make you laugh and at times make you want to cry.

During the late 1990s the Democratic Republic of Congo was at war. This war saw thousands of people killed, raped and clinging to life in refugee camps. Child soliders roamed in packs on drug- fulled killing sprees in a country that was in turmoil. Its a dark patch in Africa’s history and one not many are aware ever happened.

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Through the eyes of Isa ( Pacharo Mzembe) we see the the young fighter preparing for the biggest fight of his life and a chance at fame and fortune. As Isa fights his opponents he also fights the demons in his head.

Through a series of tableaux Isa remembers the brutal murder of his family, his enlistment as a child soldier and his eventual escape to Australia to become a Prize Fighter.

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The question is, can Isa fight both his demons and opponents to rise above and become the Prize Fighter he is destined to be?

The semi- autobiographical play is at times confronting and uncomfortably honest. That is what makes the story being played out on the boxing arena so brilliant. There is no Hollywood- style sugar coating and glossing of the truth. Its a story that needs to be told in all its honesty and writer Future D. Fidel has done a magnificent job in doing so. Once again Director Todd MacDonald has bought together an exceptional cast to bring this story to life.

Rather than use a large cast,  MacDonald has kept things simple with actors Sophia Emberson- Bain, Margi Brown- Ash, Thuso Lekwape and Gideon Mzembe switching between roles with relative ease and a simple costume change. Being able to bring a series of characters to the stage is no easy task yet all of the cast do so flawessly.

Prize Fighter is the tale of one mans ability to rise above and beyond his past to become a true champion. It is a gut wrenching, emotive story that will have you cheering on Isa ringside in the battle of his life. An emotionally honest story that will stay with you long after the gloves are off.

Prize Fighter is playing at La Boite Theatre until September 26.

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