This weekend I attended a show by legendary performer and satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. Not entirely sure what (or whom out of his character arsenal) to expect we were given an entertaining whistle stop history of the political intricacies of South Africa.
The title of the show was An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Uys in which, as we were soon to find out, was a literal title. Piquing my curiosity were the 14 boxes lining the back of the stage, flanked by wooden crates.
|Pick a box|
As Uys took to the stage he began Act One which dove straight into a run through of the political history for the life span of our ‘tour guide’ starting at ‘Oom Daniel’ Malan and the beginnings of nationalism, taking a left at his admission of owning a banned picture of Mandela stashed under his mattress, ending with FW de Klerk and the end of Apartheid.
Four lucky audience members were then given the chance in turn to choose a numbered box in which lay the accessories for a character that Uys would then perform. I was delighted to see Noelle Fine, chosen first and then second too.
Her first commentary was a recent update as she sat in Toronto airport. She was returning from a school reunion held in Canada as opposed to Cape Town due to mass emigration. Her second contrasting appearance was a flashback from 1985 revisiting the fear of revolution and sense ‘impending doom’ as the regime began to crumble.
The third box was empty, cleverly symbolising the recent spate of empty government promises. Grace Mugabe was then chosen and performed with much laughter tinged with bitter reality.
The final act took us through the last 20 years of democracy, from Madiba to Zuma and touching on Malema. It was fantastic to see that Uys has not lost his bite, nor his enthusiasm for our homeland. His ability to poke fun while remaining upbeat is the true inspiration.
The jewel in Uys’s crown, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, was then introduced by a voice recording made by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu himself (assuring us he was indeed the real thing). She regaled us with tales of making koeksisters for Madiba and translating ‘Umshini Wam’ for the Queen.
The show runs until 27th July and I’m tempted to go again to see what other character gems remain unopened in those boxes!