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**** Tried and tested, tongue in cheek

– Beverly Brommert, Cape Times,14 August 2018


CONSUMMATE entertainer that he is, Pieter-Dirk Uys has injected new life into tried-and-tested favourites of his repertoire — with an artful blend of the familiar and the fresh. The result is a sly, sweet, satirical farrago of material — appropriately ushered in by a snappy rendition of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.


Understatement is key, with Uys clad in a versatile, basic black ensemble — lending itself to the many changes of personae involved in this show.


The stage is likewise set with a minimum of props — an assemblage of cardboard boxes that serve the dual purpose of containing costume accessories and suggesting a life in transition. Like many a senior citizen, Uys is facing the need to downscale and jettison encumbering possessions.


Since he is a resident of the village of Darling, and also has frequent recourse to the hackneyed endearment “darling” when memory fails him regarding the name of an interlocutor, the title of his latest show is doubly justified.


He takes us on a trip down memory lane, as he recalls the purchase of his Victorian house in Darling, the genesis of his theatre Evita se Perron, his integration into village life and the characters encountered along the way.


Most poignant among these is the elderly gent preparing to relocate from his family home to an old-age retirement centre, as well as the voluble Muslim lady from the Bo-Kaap, locking horns with the authorities in an attempt to get a visa for a first-time visit to her family in Manchester. Uys’s irrepressible sense of humour keeps the tone light but the underlying issues are there to exercise the mind.


Inevitably Evita Bezuidenhout makes her appearance, but this time her presence is not pivotal to the show. She is in fact deconstructed as Uys applies the requisite make-up, wig and costume, in full view of his spectators, with an occasional excursion into the character of “the wrong white lady”, offering inspired impersonations of Angela Merkel and Theresa May.


Most witty of all is his audacious portrayal of Zuma by PW Botha, a neat solution to the problem of a white man in a black role — both were presidents of this country and both make almost identical speeches, the former with wagging finger, the latter with forced chuckles. It makes you think, which is what Uys does best.


Note: When in Doubt Say Darling is sold out for the entire run, but there is a waiting list for cancellations.





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When in Doubt Say Darling