I am one of the didnâ€™t-see-it-last-timers. I had been kicked off Artscapeâ€™s New Writing Programmeâ€™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 kiddieâ€™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 Louisâ€™ 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, thatâ€™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.