Review: MY FELLOW SOUTH AFRICANS at Innovation Lounge at Artscape Presents Relevant and Satirical Social Commentary

This satirical revue will be performed throughout the next year in anticipation of the 2024 national elections.

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If South Africans know how to do one thing, it is to laugh - especially at ourselves. Award-winning playwright, Mike van Graan, has harnessed this famous South African humour and penned and directed a satirical revue that will be performed throughout 2023/24 in the build-up to the 2024 national elections. Currently, the show is being staged in the Innovation Lounge at the Artscape. The revue comprises about fifteen segments or sketches - some of them are new, some of them are rehashed and amended, and some of them are golden oldies. Each one comments on South African society as it is today, warts and all.

Fleur du Cap and SAFTA-nominated actress, Kim Blache Adonis tackles this one-woman revue with aplomb. Adonis is versatile, with sharp comedic timing and skilfully switches accents and characters without missing a beat. With only herself onstage, Adonis' energy never ceases as she artfully delivers the material (which in turn includes poetry, drama, singing and comedy) for the duration of the show's 65 minutes.

I delighted in the absurdity of some of the pieces. For example, in one sketch, Adonis plays a chicken who appears to be at some kind of chicken rally, possibly trying to launch a chicken uprising. Filled to the brim with puns, clucking, squawking and cackling, the chicken's point of view regarding the state of affairs in South Africa is easily my favourite sketch, mostly because of how bizarre it is. Adonis' delivery is fantastic.

Of course, some of the pieces are more difficult to watch than others, and it is not all laughter. Satire, ultimately, shines a light on the (often ugly) truths of our society and we all know that South Africa has plenty of those. I felt deeply uncomfortable watching some of the sketches and I think that that is important - political theatre should make us uncomfortable in that it awakens us, makes us more aware and, dare I hope, more conscious in the way we live our lives in this deeply unequal society.

As Adonis performs the sketches, Zapiro cartoons are projected on screens on either side of the stage, reminding the audience of different events and phases in South Africa's wild socio-political landscape.

Some of the other pieces include a re-imagined version of John Lennon's "Imagine" which switches out 'heaven' in the opening line with a South African politician whose name rhymes with said lyric. Another sketch takes place in a nail salon in which a white woman brags about how she is 'staying' (for now at least) but is thankful for her foreign passport. Yet another piece has us watching a decolonisation panel made up of students of different races in a newsroom, debating fallism. Many of the pieces have us coming face to face with people we have seen out and about, with people who we know, sometimes with ourselves - as jarring as that is. Ultimately, this revue will spark conversation, discussion and debate, all of which are necessary in the year leading up to having our thumb nails stamped, as we ink an 'X' onto a ballot.

MY FELLOW SOUTH AFRICANS runs from 3 to 20 May 2023 at the Innovation Lounge at the Artscape. Tickets can be booked via Computicket and are R95 for children aged 16 to 18, pensioners and students; are R145 for regular tickets; and are R120 for block bookings of 10+.



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