Review: Pieter-Dirk Uys proves once again that he is the master of satire and characterisation in SELL-BY-DATE

On at Theatre on the Bay until 10 June

By: May. 25, 2023
Review: Pieter-Dirk Uys proves once again that he is the master of satire and characterisation in SELL-BY-DATE
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Probably one of the best things about South Africa and South Africans is our sense of humour. When times get tough, we can always find a way to laugh - and that is the beauty of a Pieter-Dirk Uys show. Uys knows just how to tap into our fears and our challenges, and make us laugh at them. SELL-By-DATE does exactly that.

In world still reeling from the pandemic, surrounded by chaos and corruption in our politics, and of course load shedding, it can be tricky to find something to laugh about. In comes South African treasure Pieter-Dirk Uys with his gorgeous characters and razor-sharp wit, and we're all laughing. Suddenly, the world isn't so scary or damaged. It's a true gift that Uys has - to give us hope and laughter.

In SELL-By-DATE, Uys covers a few hard-hitting topics. Of course, load shedding is right up there. The general mismanagement, corruption and chaos that fill South African politics are also easy pickings for the great satirist. He even thanks the SA government for being such great scriptwriters for him! He had the National Party back in the day and now he has the ANC to help him out.

Uys also touches on some very personal topics. The entire notion of having a sell-by-date. At the age of 77, people ask him regularly if or when he is going to retire. I'm glad to say that he isn't planning to do that any time soon! That would be a very sad day for local theatre when he takes his final bow on stage.

He also explores the notion of woke culture and whether or not he will have to retire some of his characters that he plays. In today's world, can an older, white, gay man do his characterisations of ex-president Zuma, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Tata Madiba? Can he continue to portray Nowell Fine, Bambi Kellerman and everyone's favourite Evita Bezuidenhout? Honestly, my spine goes cold at the thought of never seeing Tannie Evita again. She's as real a person to me as the actor himself is.

Don't worry though! You will get to see all your favourites in SELL-BY-DATE. Uys takes you through a trip down memory lane, donning a jacket or a pair of glasses and transforming into the characters right in front of you. Then he pops on a pair of false eyelashes and a bit of lipstick, followed by a wig - and there is Nowell, Bambi and finally, Evita. I will never get over watching Uys transform on stage. His ability to make subtle alterations to his body language and his voice that completely change him into someone else before your eyes is magical.

SELL-BY-DATE is another piece of thought-provoking entertainment that will make you laugh out loud, created by probably one of the greatest satirists ever. Definitely worth seeing! It's on at Theatre on the Bay until 10 June. Tickets range between R150 and R250, and can be bought via Webtickets.

Photo credit: Supplied


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