BWW Reviews: Plenty of Laughs on the Cape Town Comedy Circuit with Oskar Brown and Pieter-Dirk Uys

APieter-Dirk Uys, photographed by Stefan Hurterlthough the character is not likely to rear his head at every performance, the one act of the evening that did not work for me was the first one we saw, a prison warden who took care of Nelson Mandela while he was incarcerated during apartheid. It was the only skit of the evening where Uys’s comedy felt irrelevant and dated. That might sound like an odd criticism in a show that is composed largely of skits that are familiar to audiences who have seen Uys on stage before, but the other characters seemed to have something to say about the life we are living in South Africa right here and now, which is of course the very broad topic that Uys used to frame the satirical material written to link the set pieces together.

It is clear that the seriousness of South Africa's politics is as important to Uys now as it was during the days of apartheid and it was heartening to overhear some of the schoolgirls in the audience talking to their teacher as they left the theatre about the road to Mangaung and their intention to participate in the next election, which Uys had encouraged them to do mid-performance. Perhaps that is the measure of Uys's success in performance: political satire is aimed at shifting mindsets and lays down a challenge for the audience to re-examine the practice of their citizenship. The gauntlet laid down here was enthusiastically taken up.

It seems that comedy is thriving in Cape Town and that audiences are spoiled for choice. ONE NIGHT ONLY was a once-off event that is currently considering a return run in 2013, but tickets for AN AUDIENCE WITH PIETER-DIRK EISH! (running until 17 November) are still available through Computicket.

Photo credits: Clemens Hess, Stefan Hurter

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David Fick Born and bred in South Africa, David has loved theatre since the day he set foot on stage in his preschool nativity play. He graduated with a Master of Arts (Theatre and Performance) degree from the University of Cape Town in 2005, having previously graduated from the same university with a First Class Honours in Drama in 2002. An ardent essayist, David won the Keswick Prize for Lucidity for his paper "Homosexual Representation in the Broadway Musical: the development of homosexual identities and relationships from PATIENCE to RENT". Currently, he teaches Dramatic Arts at a high school in Cape Town and also freelances as a theatremaker and performer.

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