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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 The Sacrifice

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Tuesday 28th February 2023


Dada Masilo is an award-winning choreographer from South Africa and she is currently touring the UK with The Sacrifice which I saw last night at Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Brought to the UK by Dance Consortium, this piece is inspired by Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring. Masilo has created a unique piece which is a fusion of contemporary and traditional Botswanan dance styles.

What I liked about this production was the joining together of the music and the dance. The music was live and was performed on the stage by a trio of extremely talented musicians who fed off the energy of the dancers. There was also a singer who had a phenomenal voice. Her vocals were beautiful and although you didn't necessarily understand what she was singing, her tone told the story brilliantly and in a way that transcended language.

This piece was created in a unique way in that the music was born from the choreography and not the other way around. There were some unusual instruments used by the three musicians, including a pipe from a washing machine!

The dance itself seemed very ritualistic. It's almost as if it was a traditional dance that had been danced by communities for hundreds of years. For the movement Masilo had been inspired by small animals such as the meerkat, which gave an interesting edge to the performance.

It felt very much as if it was a part of a culture that is very different from ours, although the central theme of grieving and healing came across well.

The piece definitely wasn't what I was expecting, but then again I'm not quite sure what I was expecting! It definitely took the audience on a journey and was quite moving in places.

The Sacrifice ran for just over an hour with no interval, but there were two very clear parts of this piece I personally enjoyed the second part more. I struggled during the first half of the performance to interpret the story being told and I think that the musicians were actually in the wrong place.

They were situated to the front of the stage on the side and although not lit, I found myself being drawn to watching them because of the wondrous music they were making. Unfortunately this distracted me from the dance on numerous occasions and I wondered if they would have been better placed in the four corners of the stage.

Another issue for me is that although I thought that individually all the dancers were incredible, I thought that there were some timing issues when all eleven dancers were dancing in unison. Because there is no set the stage is very bare which I find makes it more noticeable when someone is out of time. It wasn't constant or always the same dancer, but it I felt it was noticeable enough for me to mention here. Maybe I'm being picky but being married to a dancer makes me value the cleanliness of a dance.

I think if these timing issues were addressed then my star rating could easily rise to at least four stars if I were to review the piece again as overall I enjoyed the performance.

I would definitely see this again and if you get the chance to see it, then I'd recommend that you book tickets.

The Sacrifice has one more performance at Theatre Royal Plymouth tonight and then visits eleven more venues before the tour finishes on 12th April 2023. Head to for a full list of tour dates and to book tickets.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being open, honest and free from influence.

My tickets for this performance were gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to the Press Night to review the production. The fact that my tickets were gifted played no part in my star rating for this review.


Dancers: Dada Masilo; Leorate Bessler Dibatana; Lwando Dutyulwa; Thuso Lobeko; Lehl Ohonolo Madise; Songezo Mcilizeli; Refiloe Mogoje; Steven Mokone; Tshepo Zasekhaya; Thandiwe Mqokeli; Eutychia Rakaki

Musicians: Nati Shongwe; Mpho Mothiba; Leroy Mapholo

Singer: Ann Masina


65 minutes with no interval

The mission of Theatre Royal Plymouth is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West.


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