Hoor hie’ my broer, gisteraand het ek en Big Friendly Baxter toe gegaan om na Afrikaaps te kyk. En dit was heel en totaal kwaai!
The Baxter was buzzing with a slightly different crowd for this opening night and it was quite exciting to see the usual suspects (of which I suppose I am one!) with a bunch of others, coming to this lekker show. On the way there Big Friendly asked what it was all about and I couldn’t really say, other than I knew it was going to be a mix of styles and forms, looking at the history of Afrikaans. He also made the astute observation in the foyer that on the day Eugene T’s funeral and all that it did to divide, we were a mixed and motley crew gathered together to celebrate die taal.
Once we got inside the theatre I sat back and completely loved the show, from beginning to end, and everything in between. Afrikaaps is a lively documentary on the history of Kaapse Afrikaans and coloured identity performed by Cape Town’s hottest young things. Emile Jansen, Moenier Adams, Bliksmstraal, Blaq Pearl, Jitsvinger, Kyle Sheperd and a gorgeous bass player make up the ensemble, directed by Catherine Henegan.
There will be lots written about this show, in fact Zane Henry’s article in The Big Issue tackles some of the major themes, ideas and comparisons really well, and I know for sure that the crits will have tons to say, which is great. For my part, there are a couple of things I want to single out from the experience.
The first thing that struck me about the show was how there was no narrative or story. This is a departure from traditional theatre that usually doesn’t work for me, but here it does. It’s a bit like a documentary/variety/multimedia show that sticks closely to its message. And the success of the structure and direction of the piece makes the whole thing like a brand new theatre form. This is also what makes this seven unique and strongly individual performers into a cohesive and dynamic team. They work so well together.
I love Jitsvinger. I love how he tastes the words and spins the stories. His strange, long, stick insect body is a theatrical gift and his voice and word power make him truly mesmerising, and moving. I fell in love with Moenier Adams (as did most of the audience; he looks like a little young Johnny Depp) with his gorgeous voice, full on B-Boy moves and his exquisite comic timing and deadpan delivery. Blaq Pearl’s poem was absolutely chilling. She is a strange and dynamic power. I actually loved them all, more and more, throughout the show. And so did last night’s audience who rose like a wave to their feet in ovation at the end.
Now I really hope that everyone goes to see this show. I wished that all my neighbours in my tiny street in Woodstock had been with me last night.