I’ve just come back from the Kalk Bay Theatre where I went to the opening night of Aldo Brincat‘s The Emancipation of Arnie. It’s always hard to go and see a show at the theatre where you work; especially when the director is the boss’s wife!

So as I sat eating Donne the chef’s most stunning and delicious butternut and ricotta lasagne I was filled with the omigod feeling of ‘what if I hate it?’

Very soon after the show started the waves of skaam and paranoia were replaced with the gentle ripples of amusement and charm and then came the stillness of absorption and delight.

TEOA is a simple schoolboy piece of nostalgia with the story driven by the protagonist Arnie. Other characters make appearances and they are delightful and brilliantly drawn. All this is made more potent by the wonderful use of masks, crafted by Aldo himself.

The show is clear, clean and moving and also very very funny. Aldo is a loving and generous performer and the audience of non-theatre performers (and us, two hard-core theatre hags) were delighted and transported by his story and characters. The masks are beautiful and not one bit scary or alienating (usually my problem with masks).

Helen (and what I’m about to say is NOT because she is the boss’s wife) has worked sensitively and lyrically, giving the show a lovely music and rhythm of its own. Her set is clean and functional and she even manages to pull off the use of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Hilarious.

I’m not going to tell the story. My constructive criticism? I would have loved to see a few of the gorgeous ‘other’ characters, like Dad and Darcy and Belinda, more than once. I loved them and thought that I could have built a stronger connection with them if I saw them more. A minor script thing that I thought the show could be improved by.

One of my most favourite things was watching and hearing the audience around us. They really connected, in that way that allows them to gasp or giggle or repeat stuff unselfconsciously. I mean, isn’t that what theatre is all about?

This was a great way to break my theatre drought. TEOA has a three week run. Go see it.