Brooklyn | 1h 20m | Already closed

The Fall (St Ann's Warehouse)

From 13 critic and 20 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great singing

About the show

St. Ann's Warehouse presents this hit from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, where a cast of seven actors recount their experiences as student leaders of a protest movement on the University of Cape Town campus.


The #RhodesMustFall protest movementcalled for the teardown of a colonialist monument on campus. Marshaling the power of protest songs and dance, 'The Fall' unpacks discrimination in all forms, exposing the impact of inflammatory iconography, crushing student debt and tuition fees, shedding light on similar debates here in America. 

Winner of the Fringe First Award at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

1h 20m | Already closed | St Ann's Warehouse (Brooklyn)


"There's nothing naive or immature about this rousing piece of political theater. Instead, this collective work exudes the kind of nuance and wisdom born from difficult personal experience...The kind of mature, clear-eyed hindsight that is the mark of promising young artists...Ultimately, it's that sense of blazing passion that one is left with in 'The Fall'...'The Fall' stands as a stirring testament to their adaptability and fortitude, with lessons that deserve to be heard." Full Review

The New York Times

"Stirring ensemble theater piece...Not so much a protest play, as it is a play about a protest, and that distinction is what it gives this docudrama its arresting complexity...That each cast member is such a compellingly specific presence is a blessing and a necessity...The rushing momentum of what happened, both scary and exhilarating, is most evocatively conjured by the details of first-person reminiscence...There is an infectious, heady joy in such scenes." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The student is the future in this powerful piece of social justice theatre...Its brutal honesty holds up a mirror that both reflects and amplifies its source. This exceedingly well-made devised piece revolves around the events during and after the Rhodes Must Fall movement in South Africa...Though experimental in nature, the piece never ventures into obscurity...The value of 'The Fall' lies in its ability to expand our existing understanding of activism." Full Review

The London Evening Standard

for a previous production "The story is explosive but the storytelling itself is dynamite, as a seven-strong ensemble of former UCT drama students talk, sing, chant, dance, and stomp their way through 80 pulsating minutes of anger and sadness...The conversation of the energized student movement ranges far and wide...Throughout it all, the energy levels never falter in a production curated with confidence and spark...A valuable and vital piece of theatre." Full Review

The Times (UK)

for a previous production "It is one thing to have heard about the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on the news, but it is another to see, hear, feel the story...The arguments are epic and the truths spoken and shouted here send chills down the spine as the students wrestle with being black or mixed race, rich or poor, revolutionaries or pragmatists...Whatever your views, you can feel how authentic it is. These young people, the future of South Africa, are letting us in, telling us their truths, crying for their future...I l... Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "This goes deeper into contemporary South African politics by confronting the divisions over gender, patriarchy, race, and class that split the movement when the statue had come down and the struggle turned to other issues...This begins to roar when the students get to confront and being to understand each other’s own issues...This is a truly ensemble production which has both teeth and heart. And one which stands for student revolt around the world and down the ages." Full Review

The Upcoming (UK)

for a previous production "Though its handful of seven characters spend a lot of time performing monologues, they are nevertheless fully realized and have a convincing and charming dynamic. This serves to make the conflicts and divisions between them more poignant and the moments in which they are able to come together immensely satisfying...This production tells a story embedded in South African history and experiences in a way that is unflinchingly honest and unapologetically proud." Full Review

The Scotsman

for a previous production "The show pulses with life, and with the kind of passionate song and movement first glimpsed on the Edinburgh Fringe more than three decades ago, during the last years of apartheid. What makes 'The Fall' remarkable, though, is its combination of that pure physical energy with a uniquely vital, detailed, and profound political argument about how – so many years on – real decolonization and freedom is to be achieved." Full Review

Fest (UK)

for a previous production "A play that’s a nuanced, compelling insight into their fight. This close-knit group erupts onto the stage, humming with energy and resolve...A series of tightly-scripted debates show them wrestling with these problems...Here, infectious dance sequences show that they've got the energy to make their theories real. But more ponderous, dragging group movements also show their struggle’s psychological toll...'The Fall' couldn’t be more topical. It captures a spirit, a cultural moment." Full Review


for a previous production "Exuberant and thought-provoking...Every molecule of the space of the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs is packed with the energy, enthusiasm, passion, and commitment of the seven strong ensemble. The singing alone is powerful and uplifting, it feels that there are more than seven people on stage, and the movement is exciting and captures perfectly that feeling of protest. The cast are terrific...There is no doubt that the play really connected with its audience." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "It's a vivid account...If the subject seems timely, it's because the arguments have spread...If the arguments have become familiar, 'The Fall' pushes on. What happens next?...Told collectively and directly – old-school agit-prop – a lot of 'The Fall's' drama comes from heated debate. Jostling argument does the job of action and, under Clare Stopford's supervision, it covers the bases...Music acts almost as a balm...The songs stand for something in their own right as well." Full Review

Time Out London

for a previous production "This is an energising show, performed by its seven actors in song to a foot-stomping rhythm, capturing the heady rush of finding a cause to fight for...There’s real power here, as each performer takes their turn in the spotlight to give their own perspective...What adrenalizes this show are the differences it splits open between the students depending on their background. It’s not a tidy portrait of people unified by a common cause...It’s also a funny, humane piece of work." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "This fleet-footed piece blazes with a sense of injustice and yearning for change that is hard to refute...Though steaming with militant ire...the piece avoids angry agit-prop, by honouring the arc of the protest...'The Fall' invigoratingly charts the Biko-isation of a generation of students; where it will end, though, is another matter. About the role of the Zuma government in this fraught chapter the show is studiously quiet." Full Review

Relevant, Refreshing, Must see, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in social change, social justice, Decolonization, want to hear original xhosa tunes from South Africa.

Don't see it if you'd rather not think about racial issues, protests, politics and academy.

Absorbing, Great singing, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense

See it if You care about racism, our terrible federa government, how seemingly piwerless individuals can resist.

Don't see it if You like Trump.

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Exquisite, Inspiring

See it if Students lead a social justice movement in South Africa. Singing and chanting. Debate over the course of action. I was immersed and moved.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy social justice plays, or the point of view of millenials. You don’t want to learn more about race & class issues.

Absorbing, Must see, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you are interested in devised theatre focusing on race and inequality.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in political theatre

Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in post- apartheid S.A. Talented company created this piece. You want to be moved yet again by young people's activism.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the subject matter. Don't like simple ensemble work.

Also To be honest, I was in the top row and had a hard time hearing some of... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy thought provoking plays about real life events and issues with great acting.

Don't see it if You want to take a blinds eye to some very poignant and troubling issues or are in the mood for something light and fluffy.

Absorbing, Relevant, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if play written by cast about their involvement in a protest movement at the Univ. of Cape Town; monologues interspersed with singing

Don't see it if don't want issues of racism & colonialism; don't like minimalist sets; want dialogue rather than mostly monologues

Also A very talented group whose stories are very moving.... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if See how people with a cause come together want to see things from many points of view recognize the tensions for change

Don't see it if dont want to confront tough issues

Absorbing, Thoughtful, interesting, reflective of student reactions in siuth africe

See it if you are interested in historical perspective of student involvement in issues in South Africa; wonderful ensemble presentation

Don't see it if you want light entertainment without any serious or thought provoking messages to consider.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great singing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you like thought plays. And stories that are told in non-traditional ways. And if you're interested in politics of race and humanity.

Don't see it if if the above doesn't appeal to you!

Absorbing, Great singing, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you'd like a true story of South African students who want to eliminate racism and bias at their university; how far are they willing to go?

Don't see it if you're not interested in issues of race, gender, patriarchy, bias; play sometimes becomes a little preachy, but heartfelt

Great singing, Absorbing, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in South Africa's move away from apartheid and how race & class come into play.

Don't see it if you have no interest in S. Africa or you don't like shows with minimal sets/staging.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to be inspired through raw emotion, group chemistry, and real footage to invoke social change and justice.

Don't see it if you are strongly opposed to political theatre or are not interested in socio-political movements about race, gender, and economics.

Profound, Must see, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy political ensemble pieces. You want to learn more about the student protests in South Africa, as well as race politics as a whole.

Don't see it if You do not have an open mind, are not willing to LISTEN and attempt to understand the messages that these young people are conveying.

Indulgent, Overrated, About movement dynamics not movement accomplishments

See it if You are interested in internal movement dynamics regarding race, class & gender

Don't see it if If you are looking for a story thachronicals how change is made - this is focused on the importance of holistic worldview not change making

Disappointing, Cliche

See it if You want to learn about "movement" dynamics & challenges of intersectional analysis but not if you are looking for something compelling

Don't see it if You want to encounter activitists with an authentic voice -these are silly composite characters - representing various lines of argument

Also Maybe it's because I am a professional organizer that I had such a bad... Read more Read less


See it if you want to see protest theatre, the themes are important ones, but the format was not for me

Don't see it if you're not interested in South African politics

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You recognize the need for student protests and the problems within these movements

Don't see it if You're a conservative who doesn't understand systemic oppression

During previews
Relevant, Resonant, Intense, Edgy

See it if A searing look at ongoing discrimination at a South African university. Done in the style of documentary theatre. Eye opening.

Don't see it if You don’t like intense political discussions. The South African accents take awhile to get used to.

During previews
Wonderfully engaging performers/protesters, Exhilarating and sobering, High energy agitprop theatre

See it if you're interested in resistance movements--student or otherwise, Black Lives Matter, the process of how young people discover their politics

Don't see it if you already know too well the inevitable splintering and infighting that infect liberation movements after the heady first days of protest

Also What gives this piece its special voice and urgency is that the seven ... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives

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