Fascinating Delivery of Hare's Musings

Cape Times (South Africa), October 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

Fascinating Delivery of Hare's Musings


THE fascination with one wall that has been torn down, and another that is being built, became the inspiration for Sir David Hare's two monologues Berlin/Wall masterfully presented by John Maytham.

Berlin is a collection of Hare's musings on Berlin, a city that is now without its major landmark, and in Wall he speculates on the logic, or lack thereof, behind the creation of the wall between Israel and Gaza.

Hare, who wrote The Hours and The Reader, stayed in Berlin while he was working on the latter film. During his stay he restlessly wandered through the streets, park and pubs searching for what he considered the city's elusive nature. From Hare's viewpoint, Berlin, at one time a city of bandits, punks, poets, anarchists and pornographers, had become diluted under the strain of its own progress.

The city which used to be a lively battleground of art and politics has swapped its feather boas and garter belts for a more conventional outfit. On the one hand, Hare's Berlin is a wistful, poetic lament for an era gone by, and on the other it is a celebration of the tenacious nature of the modern city and its inhabitants. The monologue is a charming and very engaging fusion of journalism, history, personal memoirs, and philosophical musings, dappled with just enough humour to keep the piece from becoming too dark and strained.

John Maytham, an accomplished journalist and radio presenter, delivers the piece with eloquence and respect for its text and its protagonists. Maytham is a confident and fascinating raconteur who oozes confidence without allowing arrogance to spoil the context and charm of the work. …

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