Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

The Dog’s Bollocks is the Dog’s Bollocks!

We went off to the opening of The Dog’s Bollocks last night, at the Kalk Bay Theatre. It’s a one man show starring Gaetan Schmidt and directed by Rob Murray, and I think the two of them make an excellent team.

The concept is great: A romp through the entymology of the English langauge and its absurdities by the professor whose English ‘not so very good’. This is just up my alley. I delighted in Frank Muir’s My Word when I was a child, and I still love the dusty academic discussions on how the English language is being destroyed. I have even become one of those lunatics who suffer from word rage, like in a recent critic’s review where he spoke about “covering all basis”. I mean, have you ever?

Here, with TDB, we are taken on a manic and hysterical rollercoaster ride of words, meanings, origins and connections.

Gaetan is brilliant. He has extraordinary energy and amazing commitment and enthusiasm, my two most favourite things in a performer. He also has exceptional comic timing. He conveys a sense of total enjoyment on stage and it’s really as if he is saying and discovering things for the very first time. His character, the bumbling, excitable, all-over-the-place professor, incorporates much of Gaetan’s natural speech quirks as well, and makes him funny and accessible.

Rob Murray’s direction is really fabulous. He has reigned in a lunatic, sculpted and moulded and crafted, and let go and run riot. His understanding of physicality is subtle and creative and he ensures that the hour long show has an excellent flow. Wow, don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about?

Last night’s audience were weird. They got so into the show they spoke back to the professor all the time. The lady in front of me repeated every word Prof said to her friend. Loudly. People vied to answer questions and shouted out translations and proved their school boy knowledge of french and latin. I found them hilarious. And I was amazed. South African audiences are traditionally shy, reserved and rude. These guys got stuck in. They were transported. They really believed they were sitting in a lecture and they could impress the prof. And I think that’s amazing (Although I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Gaetan).

One of the funniest things in the show happened by accident though. (These things are my favourite). The prof’s shirt had this weird sticking up bit in the front. It looked like he had a 30cm ruler stuck down his pants. So, when he was in profile there was this strange protrusion. I asked Gaetan about it after the show and he was so embarrassed. Apparently, when TDB was in Grahamstown Gaetan ripped his shirt the one day, on stage when the prof was cleaning his glasses a little too vigorously. So he fixed it with a strip of valcro. Now, when he sweats the shirt sticks to him, except for the valcro which stands out stiffly. It’s brilliant. And hilarious.

TDB is on for six weeks so you Capetonians CANNOT say there wasn’t time to see it. You must.

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4 Comments

  1. The Saint

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah !!! [and by the way I declare an interest]

  2. As a non-thespian ( Of or relating to drama; dramatic. Of or relating to Thespis [He was an important innovator for the theater, since he introduced such things as the independent actor, as opposed to the choir, as well as masks, make up and costumes.]) this is what I want from theater. I was entertained from start to finish. I came away wanting more. I’ve enjoyed every thing that I’ve seen Gaetan do and The Dog’s Bollocks is top of my list of recommendation “must do/see things” in Cape Town right now.

    And if you, like me, get home wanting more information on the entymology of the English language here are two sites to get you started. http://www.wordorigins.org/ and http://www.worldwidewords.org/.

    And I hope these sites will inspire Gaetan to become the Sly Stalone of theater and start working on The Dog’s Bollocks II, The Dog’s Bollocks III, The Dog’s Bollocks IV etc.

  3. Edward

    I saw this Grahamstown. I loved it too. Actually I ended up watching it a second time because other friends I was with also wanted to see it. By watching it twice I got to see how meticulously scripted it is. Great fun.

  4. luke

    Saw Theatre Sports at the Kalk Bay for the first time on Tuesday night. I think the venue is ideal for T Sports and one man shows like TDB. You cannot but be engaged by the performance in front of you in this warm space.

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