It’s quite weird seeing James Cairns three times in a row on stage. I saw his last show The Sitting Man twice, and last night it was the opening night of Dirt, the second one man show he is performing at The Kalk Bay Theatre. Well, the guy is amazing. Amazing James. I am a bit in love with him for sure. You know when a performer just nails it for you? That’s him.
Dirt has similarities to The Sitting Man that can’t go unnoticed if you see them one after each other, like most of us in the audience did. I have to do a leetle comparison; I can’t help it. One man show, trip down to Cape Town, amazing typical South African characters, brilliant ideas, and everyone (and thing in this case because Tom the dog is vital!) played and made by James. The Sitting Man, however, was all James in that he wrote and directed it as well. Dirt is written by Nick Warren and directed by Jenine Collocot.
Dirt; a road trip with three guys and a dog on their way from Jozi to Cape Town to their poker buddy’s funeral. Soap actor, Jamie …. ag, Sam, who is an egomaniacal ‘me me me’ shagging machine, Grant, the new father who is fast going down that hole of his wife’s obsessive and post-natal depression behavior, and Wayne. Wayne’s name tells you exactly what kind of poor, unfortunate and typical fella he is. Just say “Wayne” with a bit of a whiny Jozi accent. And then there is Tom the dog. I swear, I felt like I knew everybody in this play (and I probably did!). James’ characterisation, timing, detail, and totally wacky observations are classic. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and Big Friendly said he thought I was having an asthma attack I was laughing so hard.
Dirt is funnier than The Sitting Man, but it is a lot less weird and dark. It’s more ‘written’ than The Sitting Man so it has some razor sharp dialogue from each character, but it is also more complicated and a little less successful because these guys have to talk to each other, so there are times when James has to hop about to be each one of them. Dirt is gorgeously directed by Jenine. I loved the ladder of props that became chapter headings. Loved it.
Ok, ok, I admit it. James Cairns is my new best thing. The guy could do an award winning performance of telephone book reading. Might have to see this one twice too!