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Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus Set on the Cape Flats: Mike Nicol on Power Play (BBC Podcast)

Power PlayWoesMike Nicol was recently featured on BBC4′s Front Row radio programme to discuss his most recent crime novel, Power Play (available in Afrikaans as Woes).

An inventive retelling of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Power Play is set on the Cape Flats of South Africa and tells a riveting tale of gang warfare. Nicol explains that after reading this well-known play for the first time he thought to himself, “Oh my goodness, this is actually something that could be set on what are called the Cape Flats”. He goes on to explain to the British audience that this is an area just outside Cape Town, a forced removal area where mixed-race South Africans were “dumped” during the 1960s and 70s.

“Titus is really about a turf war,” Nicol says, before elaborating on the relevance of the Elizabethan play to his story in contemporary South Africa. He shares more about the rise of strong female characters in crime fiction, the brutal violence he wrote in the book, the international power play at work in the novel and his views on the so-called new South Africa.

Nicol also reveals how he did research, or almost did not even need to, for this non-touristy reflection of the Mother City, “a city which has a lighter and a darker side to it – that’s what makes it such a good city in which to set crime fiction”.

The interview starts at 21:11. Listen to the podcast:


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