Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Two women meet when the man they both love lies in a hospital bed after a heart attack. A comic two hander following their journey of discovery.
Written and performed by Krijay Govender and Leeanda Reddy, Cherry On Top, tells the story of a wife’s gradual realisation that the husband she thought so faithful, wasn’t. And worse, he is in a coma and not answering any of her increasingly urgent questions. In some ways it is easier for his mistress – at least she knew she wasn’t the only one in his life.
It is set in the Indian community in South Africa, a community where marriage is still considered sacred and an extra-marital affair is not a matter to be taken lightly. At the same time the programme notes refer to the ways in which humour has been a great coping mechanism for all in South Africa including the Indian community who ‘don’t take themselves too seriously’. The writing draws on Reddy and Govender’s personal observations and experience.
As well as the two ‘Cherries’ in our hero’s life there are also a cast of supporting characters – all played thoroughly convincingly by Govender and Reddy. Both are very accomplished actors who slip easily into the various roles affording us plenty of opportunity to chuckle at the vagaries of both the characters and the world they live in.
There is a good range of light and shade in the writing and the performances as we move through the story. I particularly enjoyed the little glimpses into everyday life in the community. Krijay Govender gives a very mature wife with whom we can easily identify and sympathise. Leeanda Reddy has great comic timing and the contrast between her serious self as the other Cherry and the supporting characters she plays is striking and makes all the characters slightly larger than life.
As in so many venues, noise from other spaces was intrusive at times and some of the shifts between scenes left us with a dark stage for a little too long which resulted in a loss of pace at times.
Overall, an enjoyable and beautifully observed drama of love and betrayal.