REVIEW of WHEN IN DOUBT SAY DARLING in CAPE TOWN — AUGUST 2018
**** 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.