Reviews of


(full texts of reviews are found in the Archives)

Reviews of MacBeki in Johannesburg  —  April 2009

****  MacBeki has to be [Uys'] most ambitious foray into the body politic yet. ...  a wily comedy, a political satire, a compelling tragedy, rolled into one.

– Adrienne Sichel, Tonight, 7 April 2009

Go and see this show as it will make you either angry or excited depending on which side you are on. No fence-sitting here.

– Edward Tsumele, The Sowetan, 17 April 2009

Uys, takes his wit and humour to a new and truly fabulous level. ... MacBeki is satirical social commentary at its best.

– Poppie Mphuthing, The Times, 15 April 2009

MacBeki uses Shakespearean references, urban legends, rumour and poetic licence in a sweeping Machiavellian ("MacBekivellian" to Uys) narrative about the lust for power and the ruin it brings the protagonist.

– Percy Zvomuya, Mail & Guardian, 3 April 2009

In MACBEKI , playwright and satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys has dug deeply, searching Shakespeare’s play to find hidden riches, seams to explore, small, shocking ideas and tiny secrets that reveal or give away an enormous amount about our own political predicaments. ...  When he messes about with the text, there is the immediate excitement of contrasting energies; and, as the characters move from one intense emotion to another, all manner of unexpected things are released.

Uys’s unstuffy approach creates a broad, pantomimic atmosphere, filled with breezy confidence and irreverent gusto. Everything is artfully arranged to give plenty of laughs and the show has the pulse of real life. Ingenuity such as this is a real tonic among the alarms and excursions of SA today.

– Mary Jordan, Business Day, 14 April 2009

The Comrades and William Shakespeare make unusual bedfellows. But this is what happens when a gifted playwright like Pieter-Dirk Uys sets his mind to re-writing one of The Bard’s most famous works with inspiration from members of the ruling party and other characters who happen to get in the way.This slice of lunacy, which provides audiences with moments of great hilarity and clever word interplay, makes for an engaging night at the theatre.

Uys’ magic begins to weave it own spell as the hilarious action unfolds and the various identifiable characters make their appearance.Described as a "transgressive variation" of "Macbeth," the play retains the elements of ambition, power, deceit and greed during its discourse, with the happy family of South African players contributing immeasurably as the farce unravels.

– Peter Feldman, artslink.co.za, 2 April 2009

Uys’s Shakespearean-inspired script airs the country’s dirty laundry with glee, laughing at the hypocrisy and chiding the inadequacies.  When it’s not eliciting a giggle, or a gasp of shock, Uys’s dialogue is extremely hard-hitting.  Kudos to Uys and his cast for providing some sobering perspectives just ahead of the elections.

– Natalie Bosman, The Citizen, 6 April 2009

Structurally, "MacBeki" rests on the Shakespearean tragedy; its humour is sometimes cheap in its urbanity, sometimes cutting in its cruelty, brilliant in its bitterness. It’s a tale of Aids and its discontents, of this country’s crippling challenges: from xenophobia to misinformation and ministerial corruption, and one of unbridled lust for power, in its ugliest (and most pathetic) form. But this is a farce, not a tragedy, even if the underlying layers hit home with profundity more than the rolling heads and blood baths in other interpretations.

– Robyn Sassen, artslink.co.za, 4 April 2009


Reviews of MacBeki  in Cape Town  — February / March 2009

"MacBeki"  sparkles and fizzes with Uys’ particular satirical genius. This is the first theatrical rendering in 15 years that directly confronts and exposes those who would wield enormous power over our lives. And all this in an election year. The relief at seeing these "remote" figures pilloried and exposed in such a hilarious fashion is cathartic and downright good for democracy.

With "MacBeki", Uys draws together the many strands that contribute to his singular status as one of the most important, influential and versatile public voices in the country.

– Marianne Thamm, capetheatre.co.za, 26 February 2009

Sometimes political situations in this wonderful country of ours really do play out like dramatic Shakespearean plays with twists and turns, betrayals and love affairs and in the end it all turns out to be a bit of a joke. Pieter-Dirk Uys has done just this with MacBeki,  making the current South African political divisions hilariously funny using Shakepeare's famous tragedy, "MacBeth" as the scene and setting.  The plot however is thicker than Shakespeare could ever have imagined.

Congratulations to Mr Uys, it's a true South African beauty.

– Sindy Peters, bizcommunity.com, 3 March 2009

‘MacBeki’ is pretty close to vintage PDU.  As the title suggests, Uys has appropriated Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ for his own satirical purposes but his appropriation is pretty loose limbed.  [The production] soars, especially when it goes for broke. It shows that satire can actually be meaningful with enough imagination and verve.

– Peter Tromp, The Next 48 Hours, 6 March2009