Fugard Theatre Review

hot off the press

Photograph by Jesse Kate Kramer

“HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL”
Written by Malcolm Burger
BLOG, APRIL 2012

The Fugard Theatre is a dream space. “Dream” as in “Dreams do come true…” “Dream” as in “This is beyond reality…”

Shannon Hope is at once – on the best or worst of her days – a brilliant, broken, surreal, subtle, dark, dangerous, chilling, challenging, multi-dimensional and mind blowing artist and a thrilling, enthralling, endearing and awe-inspiring performer. Shannon rips open a hole in the Universe and invites you to step inside, through the looking glass. Her music is, in a word, transcendent. She sounds like raindrops on your window. She sounds like thunder from the gods. And that was before last night… I have used up every relevant superlative already, and then she goes and does what she did – to me, to all of us – last night. I am not often rendered bereft of words. Bitch. Now I am going to look like an amateur. I’m being forced to use expletives… F*ck. Okay, I’ll try, but I can’t promise the review will do her unbelievable show last night any justice. In fact, I’m certain it won’t… You know when your friends come over to you and give you a hug and a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for introducing them to something this wonderful, that your opinions are justified and that all is finally as it should be with the world. Sensory overload? Check. Lump in throat? Check. Extreme eargasm? Double check. I even cried. Real genuine tears. But that’s because I had a massive coughing attack in the third song and didn’t want to spoil it so I fought it til the tears streamed down my face.

Jeremy Douglas quite matter-of-factly opened proceedings in a surprise move that speaks volumes of Shannon’s sly machinations. He is one to watch for the future, a bright, fresh singer/songwriter who delivers an accomplished acoustic panache reminiscent of Newton Faulkner. Also accompanying Shannon in a few songs with his understated and brilliant guitar work, don’t be surprised if you hear his name in a household near you. Tessa Johnson was magnificent on the cello as an accompanist for the start and finish, lending an even more sincere and sombre beauty to the already achingly exquisite sound. I especially love the cello and it works exceptionally well with this music.

Which leads me to the lady of the hour. In her trademark spiked out coif and some seriously sexy red stilettos, Shannon Hope was mesmerising and had us all completely, silently spellbound. She entertained and entranced. She raised the bar and raised the roof! She whispered and stole a secret moment with each and every one of the rapt audience. She shone, brightly and magnificently, and won the hearts of every man and woman lucky enough to be there. At the end of it all, emotionally drained as we were from the wracked and ravaging journey we’d just had our souls put through, the audience was left feeling somehow more alive, more elated, more in touch, more connected, more honest. And honestly… humbled.

Shannon shares her music. It’s polished, yet primal and intensely personal. It’s intimate and intimidating at the same time. The heart-wrenching honesty and the climactic crescendos both give you goose bumps. It’s an experience that lingers long after the rapturous applause has faded. Shannon touches people. She reaches in and connects with your heart, your innermost fears, your wildest fantasies and your guarded core. It’s liberating letting yourself go – surrendering all to her majestic music and allowing yourself to be carried away. To a place she likes to call home.

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