Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Mark Elderkin

The Frontiersmen

I knew we were in for it when we walked through the door. The safe, sexy black box of Alexander Upstairs looked like it had been trashed, stripped and left hollow. The dim light of dusk was slipping through the very office like blind. It looked nasty, but that was nothing. When Yuri and Shane entered the space in white suits drenched in blood and the first thing that happened was a toxic release in the corner… I had no illusions about how hard core it was going to get. Still I was shocked. Still I found it hard to swallow.

Louis Viljoen has written a savage little drama that is unbearably bleak, witty, hideous and terrifying. I am scared about the shit that is in his head. If this is really the world we inhabit then I am a naive bunny hippy. Shit on toast! Greg Karvellas directs the most outstanding performances from Mark Elderkin and Nicholas Pauling. I have to admit it was a lot like seeing a particularly gruesome accident and being fascinated by it. No, I did not enjoy it, but yes, I thought it was rather brilliant. (I thought it was much, much better than Champ.) I had no idea that property developers were that far gone, but I should have known.

I see Mamet, Sarah Kane, Tarrantino, Berkoff influences here, only Louis takes it all to new extremes. Brilliant and hectic dialogue, intense monologues and radical ideas. You need to have the stomach for it, and I’m not sure I do. My breakfast is sitting uncomfortably this morning. Still, I think it was pretty amazing.

Apparently a regular Alexander patron wanted to cancel all his future bookings after seeing it. I had an old couple sitting in front of me last night and I was occasionally embarrassed that we were sharing the space. The Frontiersmen. Not for sissies.

Cute as Bear Shit Champ

I am one of the didn’t-see-it-last-timers. I had been kicked off Artscape’s New Writing Programme’s opening night invite list, and I was in production with something else and I never made it; but obvz I had heard all about it, and was amped to see it last night. I even managed to beg to be invited to its opening at The Fugard, and I am so glad I did.

Champ. 3 actors dressed in bear suits and their demented hippy manager/director are having a particularly crap day at the Mall and their kiddie’s entertainment is being sabotaged by the pissing monster child, 6 year old Rodney. Things go from very bad to very worse when they score six bottles of Stellenbosch whiskey. That is all I am saying.

Champ is Mark Elderkin, Nicholas Pauling (who are completely amazing, show makingly great) and Oliver Booth (a little less completely amazing) as the bear suited actors, Pierre Malherbe as the completely whacky and bizarre Waldo (I love Pierre Malherbe a lot) and Jenny Stead, the Minnie Mouse from hell of Mall Management (who managed to pull off a final monologue like a maniac). Champ is also filthy mouthed playwright Louis Viljoen (who already won the Fleur for Champ for Best New South African Script) and director Greg Karvellas. And amazing Julia Anastosopolous designed the gloomy and grim looking set (I loved what happened to it during the Horror).

Now I am not scared of swearing. This is good, because there is a lot of it in Louis’ fast and hectic dialogue, and some of it is very explicit and creative. I am also not (very) scared of the predicament of under employed actors, and I know their (our) type very well. It should probably be said here that I spent two years working weekends at The East Rand Mall (in a job so indescribably hellish I cannot even do it here), and I spent about two years performing dramatised school tour walkabouts at the V&A Waterfront. Yup. Fo shizzle. So, Champ was pretty familiar territory for me. And I guess, that’s what made it (stripped of every second expletive) damn funny and cute.

Champ is a fast, fun, filthy frolic through the hells of malls, acting, and fucked up relationships that produce offspring with the worst parents. I had a good laugh out loud time.

PS. I also loved the pre and post show music, and I was also jealous. I want to be in a play like that and speak that dialogue.

Done London

I think it’s weird that there are two little independent plays with London in their title in the Cape Town ether at the same time. Last night I went to see Done London at The Intimate, and the writer of London Road, Nicholas Spagnoletti, was there too. His play opens tomorrow at the Kalk Bay Theatre.

I have read two very good crits about Done London which are out there, and really, I don’t have much to add. It’s a very sweet and totally watchable production with some lovely performances, particularly by Julia Anastasopoulos, Deborah Vieyra and Mark Elderkin. Francesco Nassimbeni directs.

Yes, the script is a bit thin. Yes, there are the usual Saffer stereotypes, and yes, the play has managed to date itself that quickly, since Saffers are no longer eligible for a two year working visa to the UK. Still. I thought it was delightful. And I think it rang quite true.

It’s great to see a big cast in a tiny, independent production. It’s great to do absolutely no work as an audience but to sit back and enjoy the experience. Mark Elderkin and Deborah Vieyra are hilarious, and Julia Anastasopoulos (spell that after a dop!) delivers a bitter sweet and very real heartsick, homesick, wannabe actress doing a kak job in London. Been there. Done that. So horrible.

Done London is worth the R70 ticket for the enjoyment of a totally ‘unboring’ theatre experience. I think people keep comparing it to a TV sitcom because it is fun to watch. Off you go then. It’s on until this Saturday.

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