Brother Number is Rob van Vuuren and James Cairns’ latest collaboration, directed by Jaco Bouwer. Wow. It’s on at The Kalk Bay Theatre for another two weeks. Get there.
Brother Number is a theatrical treat. It’s about two brothers, Harvey and Stan, who are locked deep in the bowels of Home Affairs, the makers of ID books. Harvey is the numbers guy while Stan, with his fistful of pens all tied together, does the lines. Because of an ‘explosion of the chip machine’ they are let loose in the building and they meet up with a series of crazy but recognisable characters who help them discover who they are and why they are there.
The story and it’s execution are almost 100% pure traditional absurdist. Jaco’s set (I think this kind of thing is his genius speciality) is a huge wooden desk on short legs, surrounded by a boxed walk way and crazily underlit. Almost all the action takes place ON the desk. Incredible. The sound track is mainly the crackle and hum of flourescent lighting.
Rob and James are brilliant. Their characterisations are amazing and their accents are awesome and accurate. But what makes the show riveting is their relationship with each other, as characters in the story, but more so as performers. They are literally tuned in to each other.
I love theatre of the absurd. And there are strong elements of the biggies here – Kafka, Ionesco, Becket, Stoppard. In fact, the play mostly reminded me of my all time favourite movie ever, Brazil, which is a huge achievement in my books.
I always like to temper my opinions with what Big Friendly thinks. Sometimes I get a bit theatrically snobby or arty farty. He, on the other hand, is a great natural responder to things. He loved it. He loved the story. It reminded him of Ray Bradbury. He loved that it was created by two young local guys which made him very excited. So.
After the show I had a delightful and heated debate with Helen, the owner of the KBT. That’s what it’s all about.