Pay back the curry

August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Picture by my daughter

Picture by my daughter

Pay back the curry is a wonderful piece of satire. It lashes holy cows and pokes fun at unholy acts. It shows Zuma under the shower, copies reality TV and allows Juju to quote Shakespeare.

My son, who is a bit of an expert, pointed out that it is not standup comedy. He is right. Pay back the curry is a tightly-scripted play that gets tweaked. Last night the “cast” mentioned coalitions – that recent nightmare on Democracy Street, and it allowed onse Wade to have a run as well.

Mike van Graan wrote it, Rob van Vuuren directed it, Siv Ngesi produced it and the rather wow Daniel Richards plays it. Why wow? Hear him, see him. He is a very good actor, doing satirical voices one moment and then, seconds later, he performs a speech by a female footballer who has had to endure corrective rape.

Screen grab from the Baxter Theatre page

Daniel Richards: Screen grab from the Baxter Theatre page

Richards does so many characters: One moment he is an ex-political prisoner from the Cape flats, then he hosts, and performs, an entire talk show full of #FeesMustFall-students (an Afrikaans oke, the EFF guy, the gay bra, the feminist…) and he has Penny Sparrow explain why a Sotho guy should not run a taxi rank in “safe suburb”.

His ability to switch between ridicule and downright poignancy was also something to see. Early on in the play Richards performs a poem called “I am an African”. Yes, it pokes fun at Mbeki, but is also darn sad. To crown it all, he can sing and play the guitar as well.

I took the kids. It was a gamble. Des van Rooyen does not ring a bell in their world, but my daughter admits to having enjoyed it.

At the theatre we actually saw it says “No under 16s”. My fourteen-year old son decided to stay. I am glad he did. He may be to cool to admit that it was funny and perhaps he actually is a tad too young to have understood all the political jokes, but he heard good theatre.

Mike van Graan dishes up a strong curry: the spices have been state-grabbed from the Guptas, the veggies landgrabbed from Juju, the fat braaied from Boerewors, the chilies were stirred with the gender issues and everything was covered in a thick gravy from Zuma’s showerhead. Maybe it was a dash too hot for the young ones, but we cannot live from bland fast food alone.

Pay back the curry is worth seeing. Have fun, challenge your palate.

* * *

Here is a video of Mike talking about the play.

Here is the Baxter Theatre’s page on the show, with another video embedded in it. It runs until the 27th of August in the Baxter.

And here is the Kalk Bay Theatre’s page. It runs from 30 August to 10 September in Kalk Bay.

En lees Maryke Roberts se resensie op LitNet hier – dis baie goed en in Afrikaans.

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