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The Girl in the Yellow Dress

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It’s hardly begun, but already the fringe has thrown up the most brilliant new actress in Marianne Oldham, playing Celia, a flaky English teacher in Paris who has been stalked by a Congolese refugee.

Promising new South African actor Nat Ramabulana is a more than fitting foil as the deceptive Pierre in the game of witty linguistic foreplay to a cataclysmic relationship.

Craig Higginson is dramaturg at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, and he’s developed this spell-binding two-hander with Live Theatre in Newcastle and the Glasgow Citizens; it’s also a pedantic, semantic delight in its battery of past participles and future conditionals.

Played out in five short acts on a white minimalist book-lined set, you could complain that the dance of mutual seduction is a little pat, even predictable, in its revelations.

But you’d be hard pressed to find a sexier scene this festival than the shared naked foot stroking that turns nasty, then violent. Oldham? She’s flame-haired, beautiful and sexy, with a killer comic personality and sudden depths of vulnerability: a new Maggie Smith, and there’s no praise higher.


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