Sello Hatang | Theatrical mirror reflects South Africa’s journey

Sell-by Date transcends the conventional boundaries of theatre. Pieter-Dirk Uys, a master of satire and commentary, holds up a mirror that forces us to confront the truths we often evade.

– Sello Hatang, City Press, 2 September 2023

In the heart of a nation grappling with its past, present and future, Pieter-Dirk Uys’ theatre production, Sell-by Date, emerges as a powerful and poignant mirror that reflects the complex tapestry of South African society.

I was at the play’s opening night at the Pieter Toerien Theatre in Montecasino recently and thought to share my experience of the show. I urge fellow compatriots and other people in our country to witness this thought-provoking masterpiece first-hand.

A Candid Gaze at Society

Sell-by Date transcends the conventional boundaries of theatre. Uys, a master of satire and commentary, holds up a mirror that forces us to confront the truths we often evade. The play unfolds a diverse range of subjects — from crime to xenophobia to the lawlessness of taxis on our roads, the challenges brought about by the faulty traffic lights due to load shedding and the many who are trying their best to make the country work.

In a country where political discourse often dances around uncomfortable topics, Uys confronts these issues head-on. He urges us to introspect as a society and to always try to distil it to its most basic: that good leaders are found in our society and they must lead us out of the difficult period we find ourselves in. We have to lead, from whatever platform we are given.

A Comic Tapestry of Hope

Within the comedic fabric of the play, hope is carefully woven. Uys sprinkles takeaway lines of optimism, reminding us that we have the potential to shape a South Africa envisioned by stalwarts such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela, and many other struggle veterans like himself who used art to fight apartheid.

He draws a parallel between the country’s struggles and his own knee replacement operation, where acting and reality blur. This raises questions about our roles in building a better society and underscores the need for us to embrace the necessary change symbolically. We must all keep building a country we can be proud of, which we can leave for future generations.

A Cast of Iconic Characters

Uys employs his repertoire of characters — from the streetwise Jimi, a bergie from Cape Town who can vloek without caring who is listening, to historical figures such as PW Botha, Mandela and the indomitable Tutu to the beloved Evita Bezuidenhout. These characters span the tumultuous decades from the 1970s and 1980s to the hopeful 1990s and the complexities of the 2000s.

Through their interactions, Uys presents the nation’s resilience and emphasises its potential for transformation. It starts with each one of us, to rekindle the dreams deferred or aborted due to the social ills facing our country. It is easy to despair. The challenge is to keep re-imagining daily the country we want to see.

A Pivotal Moment Amid BRICS summit

Against the backdrop of the recent 15th Brics Summit that our country hosted, the play gains even more significance. Uys juxtaposes the hope of the 1990s, when Mandela emerged from prison, with the aspirations of a nation still worth fighting for today. As next year’s national elections loom, the play serves as a reminder of the importance of democracy, showcasing the painful yet essential process of change.

We must embrace that change fully.

In the aftermath of the show, we must always reflect on the wounds carried by the nation from its tumultuous past. Some are hidden beneath a veneer of progress, but the pain of healing persists.

We must remind ourselves constantly that every citizen must play their part in building the South Africa we once envisioned. Despite the challenges, the journey must continue. The recent heavy police presence almost everywhere in Johannesburg during the Brics Summit serves as a reminder that the nation’s potential to create a safer environment for all is possible.

It must not be done only when we are hosting foreign dignitaries. It must be a daily lived experience of all those who live in and visit our country.

Sell-by Date is not just a theatre production, it’s a call to action. This is a comedic exploration of South Africa’s journey, coupled with the moment we find ourselves in. We need to introspect and reflect in order to reignite a spark of hope in our nation.

The show’s message reverberates and, as citizens, we must embrace the pain of growth, confront our wounds and participate actively in shaping a nation worthy of its promise. The future lies in our collective hands and Sell-by Date encourages us all to seize this moment and work towards the South Africa we all dream of.

It is possible to build the country of our dreams! We have not yet reached our Sell-by Date.



'Not retire. Retread': SA icon Pieter-Dirk Uys is back with a new one-person show, Sell-By Date

Pieter-Dirk Uys is back in Johannesburg with a new show, Sell-By Date. As expected from his one-person performances, the show features not only PDU, but also a cluster of topical characters, male, female and political. Being active in live theatre since the late 1960s, Uys is not surprised when people now ask: "When will you retire?" His answer is short and sweet: "Not retire. Retread!"

– Thelma Mort, News24, 31 August 2023

SHOW: Sell-By Date

I went to the second night of Pieter-Dirk Uys' satire Sell-By Date, full of expectations. The title of the show was concerning: was this South African icon, who immortalised the character Evita, who generated a new theatre reality with Evita se Perron, who has charmed audiences for decades, and is a world-renown actor, saying that he has reached his sell-by date? But this was not the case. Sell-by Date is about some of his best-loved characters, based on real-life people: PW Botha, Desmond Tutu, Madiba, Jimmy the bergie, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, and others.

The show is physically arranged around a table, two chairs, and bags of costumes, wigs, hats and props, giving it domestic homeliness. The narrative is that he is collecting things to give to the SPCA. From this bag of props, he dresses himself and brings to life the familiar characters, talking to the audience about their origins and the political landscape at the time. When he is finished with a character, he discards the costume he has just worn into the "SPCA box".

He slips easily between characters, and the show is testimony to his great facility as an actor — changing outfits, changing facial expressions, changing accents, and putting on his make-up on stage, thus really giving the audience an insight into how he develops his characters physically and in the historical context.

The show's title relates to Uys musing, as he does throughout the show, about politics, ethics, and the state of the nation, and questioning South Africa's democracy: Has it reached its sell-by date? Uys' humour is clever, gentle, cheeky, and always pertinent. He is curious, witty, razor-sharp, and courageous; at one point in the show, musing about politics and corruption, he refers to the government as "the best that money can buy".

He also muses about growing old; he is 77 and has just had a knee replacement operation. He intertwines the story of his ageing and what that entails into the show, into the story of theatre in South Africa, making himself vulnerable before the audience. This gives the show an intimacy.

While one has grown accustomed to Uys' characters, and his own self is the unseen shadow, in this show, one meets the characters as the shadow and meets the real Uys.

Quite early on, he asks the audience: "May I have permission to play myself, a gay 77-year-old white man?"

Uys has been in theatre for over five decades, and his characters have developed through the darkest days of apartheid, and through the early heady days of South Africa's democracy, and through the Mbeki, Zuma and current dispensation.

He is in a unique position to offer the audience an insight into the historical and political periods of South Africa, and this the show does, reminding us of the times when homosexuality was banned and when hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive people were denied treatment during the Mbeki years.

This is a courageous show and one which will leave the audience loving Pieter-Dirk Uys even more.


Venue: Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre, Johannesburg

Dates: 24 August - 10 September

Ticket prices: R150 - R250 via webtickets



Wrinkles, come with mirth!

– Robyn Sassen, My View, 28 August 2023

HOW DO YOU look back on close to six decades of incredulity at the caveats and bouquets of humour so off the wall that only politicians could have written them? Pieter-Dirk Uys’s latest theatre production, Sell-By Date, which performs at Montecasino until 10 September looks at a lifetime of taking the piss, and the vagaries of doing it from within an ageing body. With or without grace.

It’s a show that will move you to tears for multiple reasons. This is our jester who gave us the narratives of his rich and detailed life as he granted us the power to laugh at the things that terrify us the most. His barbs against the idiocy that headlines our society now are no less poisonous and sharp than they were during apartheid, but speaking from a place of the authority that age affords, he can again look with a grin of disbelief at the madness of a woke era in which the very fabric of drag is frowned on, by the youth.

From knees that need replacement to the memory which can trip and fail, Uys takes on the caprices of being alive in an ageing body with a mix of candour, humour and the cringeworthy. Like the work of Peter Terry which is as much about brokenness in body and courage in spirit and that of the late dancer-choreographer David Toole who gloriously celebrated a body with difference, for instance, the work is irreverent and beautiful in its reflection on the taboos and don’ts of the world in which we live.

And as the poster promises, there is a scattering of your favourite Uys characters, with a kernel of heart and a bit of a social hand grenade in each one. Jimmy, the ‘Bergie’ has been a witness to so much for so long. He conducts traffic in his spare time during loadshedding, without legal liability, and with his beanie drawn below his eyebrows, he laughs at the way in which our politically correct youth frown upon him.

Nowell Fine, the activist Jewish woman who Uys invented even before he brought Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout into the world is sadly, not the firebrand she once was. Given the docility of South African Jewry, Nowell’s political feistiness in the world is of a previous generation. And stereotypes aside, the real Nowell would probably have skedaddled to happier shores, by now.

Uys’s facial gymnastics are another delicious highlight to the work. With a snarl and a pointed finger, he is PW Botha. And with hands held in a particular way, he becomes Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sans the purple dress or wig.  Just pure skill.

And then, there is Evita herself. The jewel in Uys’s crown in so many ways — the Afrikaans-speaking lady unequivocally celebrated as the most famous white woman in South Africa, respected (mostly) back in the day by everyone from the apartheid government, to Nelson Mandela himself. With hairdos cropped sensibly and tapered down to suit the age and the fashions for women in their seventies, both Nowell and Evita are a little tired around the edges, but have aged with grace and dignity.

Like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Uys bargains a tad with God. The world is shifting and swaying in such peculiar ways; all he needs is another three years to imbibe what happens next.

The show is bracingly honest, bitingly critical and one in which you leave with a heart full of love for a performer who had the courage to take on South Africa’s insanity and show it to all of us. In the mirror. It’s a show premised by a plastic box in which all the costumes are deposited, after he’s used them, for repurposing and for sale to the benefit of the SPCA.

Sell by date is written, directed and performed by Pieter-Dirk Uys, at the Pieter Toerien Theatre, Montecasino complex in Fourways until 10 September. Tickets through webtickets.



Theatre Interview: Pieter-Dirk Uys — New News, New Roles, Or All Dressed Up And Something To Say

– Bruce Dennill, pArticipate, 28 August  2023

Pieter-Dirk Uys: Sell-By Date / Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, Fourways, Johannesburg

Evita Bezuidenhout is back on stage in this show, along with many of your other older characters. For some audience members, that will mean nostalgia. But there are many other who will have never seen her live. Do you think Evita will play the same role for both groups or are completely different reactions likely?

She has grandchildren in school and at Wits, so she’s used to dealing with youngsters! But no, I don’t reflect on an audience’s expectations — I can’t do that. And the characters are dealing with a lot of subject matter that affects people today. Evita is very much reflecting on the BRICS summit. She’s upset, as she was told she would be put in charge of the Russian delegation. Nowell Fine has been to hospital for a breast reduction, as she was knocking herself out while toyi-toyiing. And I pay tribute to many of the women who have inspired me — and some of the men, with PW Botha, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela all making an appearance. The reality of having had a knee replacement also means adapting what I do. I don’t write around the knee, but I do compensate for how it’s changed my life, like doing the exercises my physio gave me during the show!

Part of the concept of Sell-By Date is talking about or reacting to the news of the day — every day — which requires a constantly changing script. What does that involve on any given show day. How much is preparation and how much improvisation?

I look at the political cartoons — they help. But you reach a point where, instinctively, you know what a few well-chosen words will do to wake people up. And you can’t do old news. People don’t care about that. In some ways, for the first time, I feel like this is not a performance for people, but more about talking to them. There’s lots of engagement. For all of us, getting used to changing democratic structures is like by knee rehab. You have to take things slowly and carefully. If I try something and it doesn’t work twice, I cut it. I don’t want to believe that people aren’t capable of getting what I’m talking about. Do that and you end up catering to the lowest common denominator. And now we always need to not the differences between satire and racism — the definitions for both have changed in the mainstream. Do I have to cancel my own culture? Do I need to be woke?

Sell-By Date: it’s a title that unavoidably prompts reflection. You’ve needed a knee op; South African democracy is struggling and so on. That can be tricky to market — it’s not escapism and requires audience commitment. Does that affect the effort you need to put into performances, as you perhaps need to combine being a bellwether, a motivational speaker and an actor?

Some of the historical characters were out of date 30 years ago. People under 30 don’t know who I’m talking about, and I don’t want to be some Stone Age satirist. I put a 90-minute limit on performances, as that means there needs to be editing, with some characters taken out. It’s not self-censorship — now that’s a scary thing! — but a white satirist calling out black political parties or whatever is now racism. Thankfully, Evita can do that as she’s a member of the ANC who right now is ‘cooking for reconciliation’. During apartheid, democracy was the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, thanks to Eskom, there’s no light. I’m very aware, for instance, of schoolchildren having conversations about where they want to emigrate to. And there’s also the sell-by date experience by people with 60 years of experience who are suddenly no longer wanted in the workplace. It makes no sense. I try to avoid being anything but an actor, although I definitely want to make people less afraid of fear.

Do you ever get gatvol at the pace at which some people learn?

I don’t think of it. I do get gatvol at the pace at which I learn. But education is always important. I weave talk about next year’s election into the show: people must know what’s going on and try to change what they can. It does matter. The newspapers don’t carry news anymore. There are so few sources that are trustworthy. Make sure you find them.

You’ve released another book of plays: The Mandela Rainbow Honeymoon. In the period it covers — 1992 to 1997 — you averaged around a new show a year. Did you feel that there was an imperative to provide a useful filter while he was in power? To support his themes for your audience?

The plays very much reflected what happened during that time — including the sadness that took hold as we lost what he’d conjured up. The next book will be challenging. It covers the Mbeki years and all his denialism around Aids, which led to so many people dying. And the fourth one will come out on my 80th birthday, taking us from Zuma’s shower to Ramaphosa’s sofa. Times have changed. Politicians at least used to have a sense of humour that allowed you to get them to be authentic in interviews. That’s no longer there…

Was there an opportunity you’re sad you’re missed while Madiba was president?

I do write a chapter from my perspective, talking about Evita’s interviews with him. They were extraordinary. There are so many interactions I’d like to tell people about, but it could just come across as namedropping.

Allowing performers, especially youngsters, free access to this material provides such a valuable history teaching tool. Is that something you want to allow to spread organically or are there plans to try to connect specific readers with the book?

The reactions, particularly from schoolkids who start asking questions about why certain people are in the plays, has been wonderful. I have alerted all the schools I went to with my Aids programme, and they now have the book in their libraries. And there is incredible feedback from people who grew up outside South Africa. It all makes this maybe the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.

Confronting fears is necessary, but never comfortable…

We need to clothe fears as situations, or funny stories. Sometimes the ingredients, on their own, are not great. But I’m no less passionate about creating the final product. It’s life. It’s breath. It’s oxygen.

Download the text for The Mandela Rainbow Honeymoon here — for free.



Pieter-Dirk Uys keeps the ‘mock’ in ‘democracy’ in his one-man show

– Nicki Gules, Times Live, 25 August 2023

It was the early 1990s when Evita Bezuidenhout came onto an SABC radio station for an interview in which she said the National Party government was “the best government money can buy”.

That barb, made more gasp-worthy by being directed against a fearsome security establishment on the state broadcaster, has made another appearance. This time it is used to describe the ANC government in Pieter-Dirk Uys’ new one-man show Sell-by Date at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg until September 10.

While that particular barb may have lost some of its sting thanks to our freedom to say far worse things of our leaders, Uys still brings the political heat to this production.

Sell-by Date is up-to-the-minute political satire. The Brics conference had barely closed when Uys, in character as homeless Capetonian Jimmy, gave it a thorough roasting for the bloc opening its arms to countries guilty of human rights abuses such as Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Even the security guards on the streets of Sandton came in for a ribbing.

“Who are those people in uniform? They’re so thin,” he said. “It’s probably the Wagner people because they have no boss anymore.”

As we have come to expect, Uys roasts our politicians, calling ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula the “transport minister who killed all the trains” and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the “doek diva”.

But his real target in this show are arguably the politically correct who take issue with him, a 77-year-old white man, playing characters of a coloured man (Jimmy), and women (Evita Bezuidenhout and Nowell Fine). His aim, he tells us from the stage, is to keep the “mock in democracy and highlight the con in reconciliation”. He is an actor playing characters, he says. Nothing more, nothing less.

He relates how he has been asked why he continues to perform as Tannie Evita, who according to the woke he should not impersonate because he is a man. He responds by saying that she wouldn’t exist if he had not created her. Tongue firmly in cheek, he asks the audience to kindly give a 77-year-old white man permission to play a 77-year-old white man.

In Sell-by Date, Uys deliberately provokes with humour that sails close to the edge. Some jokes, like one about BEE, drew horrified gasps from some younger audience members and roars of laughter from others. It is a fine line to tread and much is at stake, not least a legacy as a moral voice and sharp-eyed social commentator forged over decades which he would not want to see lost by being “cancelled”.

Decades after he debuted characters such as Nowell Fine, Uys gives them a new outing and they have new things to say about the times we in which we now live. Tannie Evita, who he refers to as a “trans tannie”, has a new look and a new wig to replace the Boere bouffant of old.

He also trots out real-life characters from past shows — PW Botha, Jacob Zuma and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — and has the audience guffawing at how well he impersonates them.

Sell-by Date has much to recommend it. Just leave your political sensitivities at the door.



Review: Pieter-Dirk Uys Returns with “Sell-By Date”

Experience the theatrical brilliance of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s “Sell-By Date”, where humour meets political insight and societal reflection. Witness Uys’s captivating charm and wit firsthand. A must-see for all theatre fans.

– Shaun Zietsman, The Something Guy, 25 August 2023

The theatre lights dim, the audience hushes, and an air of anticipation fills the room. Instead of the traditional curtain rise, Pieter-Dirk Uys makes a grand entrance from the side of the stage, immediately capturing the attention of every individual present. His presence at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, marking his return to Johannesburg from 24 August to 10 September with his new show, “Sell-By Date”, is nothing short of magnetic.

Having been an ardent admirer of Uys’s work, it was a dream come true to witness him perform live. The experience was surreal, and Uys’s performance was beyond expectations. From the moment he walked onto the stage, he exuded an energy that was both captivating and infectious.

Uys, now 77, has been a stalwart in live theatre since the late 1960s. His longevity in the industry is a testament to his unparalleled talent and ability to evolve with the times. In “Sell-By Date”, he addresses the inevitable question of retirement, which he often faces due to his age. But in true Uys fashion, he retorts with wit, saying he doesn’t plan to “retire” but rather “retread”.

The show is a brilliant amalgamation of humour, political insight, and societal reflection. Uys’s ability to blend these elements seamlessly is what sets him apart as a master storyteller. The narrative of his recent knee transplant and the challenges he faced during recovery, such as stumbling on stage, added a personal touch to the performance, making it all the more relatable.

One of the highlights of the show was the appearance of beloved character Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, who, along with a host of other characters, provided a delightful mix of comedy and commentary. It’s no wonder that the late Tata Madiba enjoyed koeksisters with Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout – her charm is truly irresistible.

Beyond the laughter and entertainment, “Sell-By Date” delves deep into the societal context of the pandemic and its impact on people’s lives. Uys also poses a thought-provoking question: Has South Africa’s democracy reached its sell-by date? Through his performance, he encourages the audience to confront their fears and reflect on the political landscape of South Africa.

Uys believes in the power of laughter as a tool to address fear and engage in meaningful discussions about pressing societal issues. This belief resonates throughout the show, making it not just a theatrical performance but a platform for dialogue and reflection.

“Sell-By Date” is a masterclass in storytelling. Uys’s unparalleled ability to weave humour, personal anecdotes, and political commentary into a cohesive narrative is truly commendable. It’s highly recommended to see this show and experience the magic of Pieter-Dirk Uys in person. It’s not just a performance; it’s an experience that will leave you both entertained and enlightened.



Pieter-Dirk Uys is far from reaching his ‘Sell-By Date’, so stop asking when he’s retiring

– Kedibone Modise, Sunday Tribune, 22 August 2023

Pieter-Dirk Uys continues to master the art of blending humour, political insight and societal reflection to captivate audiences.

His work transcends entertainment as he offers audiences a platform to engage with important and thought-provoking issues.

This is evident in this latest theatrical work, “Sell-By Date”, which carries forward this tradition, inviting audiences to explore societal issues through his lens.

Featuring Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout and a host of other characters, “Sell-By Date” premières at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino theatre on Thursday, August 24, and runs until Sunday, September 10.

“ ‘Sell-By Date’ is a reflection of the news of the day. I have to talk about the reality of the BRICS summit, and of course, Evita Bezuidenhout, who is a member of the ANC.

“She cooks for reconciliation. So she's very upset because all the BRICS people have decided to bring their own chefs to Johannesburg and Tannie Evita wanted to make the bobotie for everybody, but now she can.”

Uys, an active figure in live theatre since the late 1960s, addresses the question of retirement that he often faces due to him being 77.

He says that he'll stop performing when the person asking the question dies.

“I said to this one lady, okay, darling, I promise, I will stop the day you die. Never say that question again,” recalls Uys in between the chuckles.

Uys shares that his knee transplant and the process of recovery were significant factors in shaping the content of the show.

He narrates his journey of returning to the stage after the knee transplant, which made him question whether he had reached his sell-by date as a performer due to the challenges he faced, such as stumbling on stage.

The show also delves into the broader societal context of the pandemic and its effects on people's lives.

“The show is very much influenced by the fact that I've had a knee transplant. And it's been a long process of coming back into action and having to do exercises. And I suddenly thought that was my sell-by date. Will I ever be able to do a show again?

“So there's also the reality of having a wardrobe which has 40 years of costumes, 40 years of wigs and shoes and all the characters I've been doing in my work and most of them have reached their sell-by dates.

“During the lockdown, I started sorting out costumes and sending boxes to the SPCA shop, which is what I also do on stage.

In the show, Uys also questions whether South Africa's democracy has reached its sell-by date.

“‘Sell-By-Date’ also has something to do with the politics of South Africa. Have we pushed our democracy into its sell-by date?

“And, frankly, democracy is never perfect. So let's come to terms with the fact that we've got to do our own homework and sort things out.

“And we've got elections coming up next year. So get your ID book ready because that election might be the last chance for us to look after our democracy as we should do on a daily basis.

“So let's hope our democracy doesn't reach its sell-by date. And everything that's going wrong in our country can be fixed.”

Through his performance, Uys aims to get people to confront their fears while reflecting on the political landscape of South Africa.

He believes that laughter, particularly through humour, can serve as a powerful weapon to address fear and engage on important societal issues.

“I try to make people take a deep breath and laugh, but not at the jokes. They laugh at their fear. Fear is big in this country.

“Then, you hear people just say, ‘don't talk to me about politics, I don't want you to know,’ and that's when the fear becomes 20 feet high. And you'll never confront it. Fear is small but very lethal, it can kill you. And the greatest weapon is a weapon of humour.”

Uys recently released “The Mandela Rainbow Honeymoon”, the second edition of his book series, “One Man Shows”.

The first volume of the series, “The Black and White Years”, holds a special significance for him.

Uys mentions that pupils in schools are now performing the characters he portrayed in his shows back in 1981, during apartheid.

“The characters I portrayed in many of my performances are now prompting questions from students about why politicians were involved in a show like that during such a tumultuous period in South Africa's history.

“This interaction with the younger generation allows history to come alive in the classroom and bridges the gap between past and present. I'm very excited about that.”

Both books are available for free at http://www.pdu.co.za/.

Tickets for “Sell-By Date” are available at Webtickets from R150 to R250.




Pieter-Dirk Uys's new show at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino theatre from 24 August to 10 September is called SELL-BY DATE and, as expected from his one-person performances, features not only PDU, but also a cluster of topical characters: male, female and political. Being active in live theatre since the late 1960s, he is not surprised when people now ask: 'When will you retire?' His answer is short and sweet: 'Not retyre; retread!'  SELL-BY-DATE will also show Uys at his 77-year old best, bringing laughter to various states of disaster. As always his political scriptwriters are not letting him down, even when the lights fade to black!

"Al die karakters is meer as spoke van die verlede. Van hulle dien om ons te herinner dat die geskiedenis liefs nie herhaal moet word nie. Dit is 'n leerskool en 'n oproep tot aksie. Uys besin ook oor satire en die funksie daarvan in 'n tyd van politieke korrekheid en die kanseleer-kultuur. 'N Eerlike en dapper kunstenaar wat verstarde denke steeds in 'n ander rigting kan stuur, wat jou help om jou lewensuitkyk te verruim en met moed en humor te leef in hierdie land. Lank lewe PDU, hinkepink en al."

– Laetetia Pople, Die Burger, 25 May 2023

"And so PDU, our satirist extraordinaire, a lancer of our national boils chooses, after four decades of dressing up and dressing down leaders from PW Botha to Julius Malema, does probably the only think left to do: take off his own clothes! 'Sell-by Date' is a courageous, vulnerable, masterful performance by an actor who forms part of our cultural life and lexicon. There may have been a 'best before', but Pieter has no sell-by date!"

– Steve Kretzmann, The Critter, 21 May 2023

"Bravo to PDU, South Africa's treasured satirist, treading the boards at 77 and holding on to his crate of props and costumes for the show that beckons beyond the sell-by date. Bravo to Pieter-Dirk Uys and his truly unstoppable titanium Tannie Evita and for bringing his wonderful energy and satire to lift us out of ourselves."

– Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn, 25 May 2023

"In this dreary run-of-the-mill world, trust PDU to stir it up and remind us who we are and who we want to be — and who we never were. Brilliantly executed, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, sometimes insensitive, sometimes displaying remarks which will make you wince, but you will never be bored."

– Greg Landman, Magic Grape Tours, 20 May 2023

"'Sell-by Date' is another piece of thought-provoking entertainment that will make you laugh out loud, created by probably one of the greatest satirists ever. Definitely worth seeing. I will never get over watching Uys transform on stage. His ability to make subtle alterations to his body language and his voice that completely change him into someone else before your eyes is magical."

– Faeron Wheeler, Broadway World, 25 May 2023



Review: Pieter-Dirk Uys proves once again that he is the master of satire and characterisation in SELL-BY-DATE

On at Theatre on the Bay until 10 June

– Faeron Wheeler, Broadway World, 25 May 2023

Probably one of the best things about South Africa and South Africans is our sense of humour. When times get tough, we can always find a way to laugh — and that is the beauty of a Pieter-Dirk Uys show. Uys knows just how to tap into our fears and our challenges, and make us laugh at them. SELL-By-DATE does exactly that.

In world still reeling from the pandemic, surrounded by chaos and corruption in our politics, and of course load shedding, it can be tricky to find something to laugh about. In comes South African treasure Pieter-Dirk Uys with his gorgeous characters and razor-sharp wit, and we're all laughing. Suddenly, the world isn't so scary or damaged. It's a true gift that Uys has — to give us hope and laughter.

In SELL-By-DATE, Uys covers a few hard-hitting topics. Of course, load shedding is right up there. The general mismanagement, corruption and chaos that fill South African politics are also easy pickings for the great satirist. He even thanks the SA government for being such great scriptwriters for him! He had the National Party back in the day and now he has the ANC to help him out.

Uys also touches on some very personal topics. The entire notion of having a sell-by-date. At the age of 77, people ask him regularly if or when he is going to retire. I'm glad to say that he isn't planning to do that any time soon! That would be a very sad day for local theatre when he takes his final bow on stage.

He also explores the notion of woke culture and whether or not he will have to retire some of his characters that he plays. In today's world, can an older, white, gay man do his characterisations of ex-president Zuma, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Tata Madiba? Can he continue to portray Nowell Fine, Bambi Kellerman and everyone's favourite Evita Bezuidenhout? Honestly, my spine goes cold at the thought of never seeing Tannie Evita again. She's as real a person to me as the actor himself is.

Don't worry though! You will get to see all your favourites in SELL-BY-DATE. Uys takes you through a trip down memory lane, donning a jacket or a pair of glasses and transforming into the characters right in front of you. Then he pops on a pair of false eyelashes and a bit of lipstick, followed by a wig — and there is Nowell, Bambi and finally, Evita. I will never get over watching Uys transform on stage. His ability to make subtle alterations to his body language and his voice that completely change him into someone else before your eyes is magical.

SELL-BY-DATE is another piece of thought-provoking entertainment that will make you laugh out loud, created by probably one of the greatest satirists ever. Definitely worth seeing! It's on at Theatre on the Bay until 10 June. Tickets range between R150 and R250, and can be bought via webtickets.



Review: Sell-By- Date — Pieter-Dirk Uys and his truly unstoppable titanium Tannie Evita

– Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn, 25 May 2023

When and where: May 17 to June 10, 2023 at Theatre on the Bay, Cape Town and at FynArts Festival 2023 in Hermanus on June 11 at 18:30 — 19:45pm in the Dutch Reformed Church

Bookings for Theatre on The Bay: Webtickets.co.za or through Theatre On The Bay box-office on (021) 438-3300/1

Bookings for FynArts: http://hermanusfynarts.co.za/event/sell-by-date/ or see https://hermanusfynarts.co.za/

Duration: Approx 90-minutes. No interval.  

The legendary Pieter-Dirk Uys is on in Cape Town at Theatre on the Bay, with his show, Sell-By-Date, until June 10, 2023. The day after the season at TOB, he will zoom over to Hermanus to the FynArts Festival. He is the FynArts Legacy Artist 2023 and will receive his award at a ceremony on June 11, from luminary writer, Christopher Hope, who resides in France. PDU will also perform Sell-By-Date at FynArts [also June 11]. PDU is 77. It is remarkable that he is still on the boards, with his signature satire/revue shows.

I write that PDU will “zoom” over to FynArts but of course that word now conjures up the pandemic days, when live performance was largely presented on the screen and often, via the app “zoom”, which many of us had not known about, before the lockdown regulations shuttered theatre. PDU presented several shows during lockdown, on virtual platforms. In Sell-By-Date, his first major new solo-show, post-pandemic, he talks about those days and segues into realities now — dealing with our current challenges and anxieties (load shedding, breakdown of services, widespread corruption, the looming elections in 2024). He shares aspects of his current physical journey with the audience. I will not production spoil. It is intimate and up-close with this icon of South African theatre — stripped back. All is revealed as he stands on stage, in his socks and crocs.

In a recent interview, PDU said to me that he reckons that in this show, he is talking WITH the audience, not talking TO the audience. In Sell-By-Date, there is a sense of him feeling flummoxed by the state of the ruptured Rainbow Nation and the currency of whether we are beyond our sell-by-date (let us not talk about our currency). PDU shuffles through props and costumes, in and out of a crate, destined for a charity shop. He debates whether to relinquish the lot.

A favourite PDU tag line has been the need to laugh at our fears. In the current situation, we are perhaps, beyond fear — of what could happen. The edges of the absurd have flattened into a miasma of being wrapped in dread. PDU takes us there but his love for South Africa and his celebration of its people and its resilience is always there.

Then we get to his impressions and impersonations. PDU muses about the issues of being politically correct and the act of appropriating guises of others. Is it okay for a white man to impersonate Madiba? How about bringing on his favourite ladies — Evita Bezuidenhout, Nowell Fine and Evita’s sister Bambi Kellermann? Is it not woke for a man to impersonate women? I loved seeing Nowell, Bambi and Evita again. For 2023, Nowell and Evita are depicted as older ladies. Evita is 87— a decade older than PDU. She is fabulous — as always. I don’t know Nowell’s age but she is aging gracefully as she regales us, with her delicious kugel accent about her take on things, Bambi (former stripper), who is Evita’s sister, is ageless. She looks exactly the same — evoking the underbelly of Berlin in the 1960s. She hung out with the Beatles and other famous people, far away from her motherland. Meanwhile her famous sister, the power hungry, Evita reigned as the “most famous white woman in South Africa” (only surpassed by Helen Zille) and was busy “cooking for reconciliation”. Bambi has always been the recalcitrant diva who transcends political correctness, purring a mantra of sex.

Watching Sell-By-Date and I was reminded of the extraordinary contribution by Pieter-Dirk Uys to the arts and to community as a whole. Beyond his over four decades in theatre — satirist, writer, playwright, director, producer (and more) — he has made an impact as a cultural activist — voter education, sex education, HIV AIDS awareness. This work was self-funded. He put Evita in a grocery bag and drove solo around the country. Here he is in 2023, approaching his 8th decade, teasing out mirth prompts and communing with his audience. On the evening I attended, there was standing ovation. It was not a media night or a special event. Bravo to PDU — South Africa’s treasured satirist — treading the boards at 77 — and holding on to his crate of props and costumes —– for the shows that beckon beyond the sell-by-date stamp. Bravo to Pieter-Dirk Uys and his truly unstoppable titanium Tannie Evita and for bringing his wonderful energy and satire to lift us out of ourselves.



SELL-BY DATE: Uys lays it all on the table

– Steve Kretzmann, The Critter, 21 May 2023

Old age is the joke life plays on us. The price for all that rude health and beauty of youth.

As our exterior, sum of experiences, character adaptations, losses, and the interminable shift in other’s perceptions gather, our willing hearts and memory of youth’s opportunity as recent as the dawn makes terminal fun of us. But what’s the alternative?

And so Pieter-Dirk Uys, our satirist extrodinaire, a lancer of our national boils, chooses, after four decades of dressing up and dressing down leaders from PW Botha to Julius Malema, does perhaps the only thing left to do: take off his own clothes. After all, the politicians surrounding us have determinedly stripped themselves of dignity to the point they’re essentially naked now. Nakedly greedy, nakedly corrupt, nakedly incompetent. If they just tried to pretend a bit, if they acknowledged the existence of some moral code, the robe could be pulled off them. But no, there’s barely a thread left.

Which had Pieter seeming somewhat resigned; he, who is on first name terms with Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, to say nothing of Bambi Kellerman and Evita Bezuidenhout, making a dark, almost offhand warning: 2024 is our last chance.

Of course he helps us to laught at it — not our last chance, that is no laughing matter — our complicity, our idiocy. A laughter that offers hope. Yet the harder you laugh, the closer you are to weeping.

I have a confession to make. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pieter-Dirk Uys show. Not in a theater, at least, and so not a fully rehearsed and titled production. But I’ve seen him, and Evita Bezuidenhout, so many times it feels like I’ve seen many of his shows. Not the same thing. Thus I can’t judge whether SELL-BY DATE had less laughter than others. Whether Pieter wasn’t being more of a storyteller and less of a performer. But it was poignant and beautiful as he poked the finger backwards, going woke and cancelling his bergie character which was, admittedly uncomfortable in a way it wouldn’t have been 20, even 10, years ago.

Which is sad, as in Pieter’s hands it’s less a caricature and more a homage to a character; a particularly Cape Town character, an aristrocat of the street. And with him, places disappear.

But yes, things have changed. Covid changed us.

Pieter speaks about Covid, using the time to go through all his costumes. Of course he goes through some of them with us; they are old friends. And Pieter is old. He admits it. Makes no attempt to appear otherwise. And to see him lying on a table, doing his knee exercises, die hart raak ‘n bietjie seer.

SELL-BY DATE is a courageous, vulnerable, masterful performance by an actor who forms part of our cultural life and lexicon. There may have been a ‘best before’, but Pieter has no sell-by date.

Pieter-Dirk Uys’s Sell-by Date is playing at Theatre on the Bay until 10 June.



‘Retyre? No, retread!’ says Pieter-Dirk Uys

– Lauren Paris, Atlantic Sun, 18 May 2023

Author, satirist and social activist Pieter-Dirk Uys is far from retiring and is back with a brand new show called Sell-By-Date, now on stage at Theatre On The Bay until Saturday June 10.

Uys says audiences can expect an adventure. “Expect me alone on stage but never on my own, as there is always a place for my usual suspects. I also hope my audience is pleasantly shocked by the new energy I display after three years of freeze-frame. The theatre has been alive for over 2000 years. It’s great to give it another few weeks of fun. So come and be part of the adventure. No sell-by date here!”

When asked what the show is about, Uys called it a celebration between ages.

“It is a celebration of being older than 55 and younger than 77. We have all been through a hellishly complicated last few years, from one state of disaster to the next. So more than ever, it’s time for laughter and hope, for optimism and excitement. I am recovering from knee-replacement surgery and as a result the thought of my sell-by date does crop up. But does that mean our democracy is also reaching its sell-by date? Not if we can help it with a bit of humour.”

Uys doesn’t mention a favourite character to play but rather a complicated one which is himself. “My most complicated character is always ‘Pieter-Dirk Uys’ — but once I’ve got him sorted out, the stage is open for Tannie Evita. Nowell Fine, Bambi Kellermann, Desmond Tutu, Madiba, Winnie and a host of other hellos and goodbyes.”

With the country’s state of affairs constantly being in shambles, we had to ask the political theatre performer his thoughts. Uys said that once his year had 365 days but now it only has two, today and tomorrow.

“If I make today a reality with all its demands, tomorrow will be a hopeful day of positive thinking and energy. So the current state of affairs will always chop and change. We must just keep in touch and remember that for every piece of bad news, there are at least three pieces of good news – but find it. Good news is busy working; it’s the bad news that is frightening,” he said.

Uys said to call entertainment by any name is risky and he uses political issues to focus on what works and what doesn’t work in life. “We have at present, the best government money can buy, so it would be a shame not to include their ‘loadsheds’, lockdowns and scandals to brighten up the day. Laughing at fear can make that fear less fearful.”

Uys says one of his golden rules during his years of performing is to tell a fresh story. “Tell the audience the story as if for the first time: fresh, energetic, a bit shocking and always with a touch of wink and giggle.”

Sell-By-Date starts this week and runs for 70 to 80 minutes. Tickets are available at Webtickets and range between R150 and R250.



Interview: Pieter Dirk Uys, Sell-By-Date, personal journey from the paralysis of states of disaster to renewed energy and enjoyment

– Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn, 17  May 2023

When and where: May 17 to June 10, 2023 at Theatre on the Bay, Cape Town and at FynArts Festival 2023 in Hermanus on June 11 at 18:30 – 19:45pm in the Dutch Reformed Church

Bookings for Theatre on The Bay: Webtickets.co.za or through Theatre On The Bay box-office on (021) 438-3300/1

Bookings for FynArts: http://hermanusfynarts.co.za/event/sell-by-date/ or see https://hermanusfynarts.co.za/

Duration: Approx 90-minutes. No interval.  

The incomparable Pieter-Dirk Uys is on at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town with his show, Sell-By-Date, from May 17 to June 10, 2023. The day after the season wraps up, on June 11, he will be in Hermanus for the FynArts Festival, to receive his award as FynArts Legacy Artist 2023 and to perform Sell-By-Date (also on June 11 — the man has energy). The award will be made by esteemed novelist Christopher Hope. They will be in conversation-about PDU’s life. The FynArts Festival is on from June 9 - 18, 2023 —10 days. PDU at 77 — is still treading the boards — with his signature vigour, focus and passion for our beautiful but complicated country. In this interview, he muses about presenting shows online, in the dark days of the pandemic — that “Zoom would lead to nothing”. All we “could do was wait” but we “cared for each other”. He hopes that we don’t lose that: Caring and commitment to each other. As for his thoughts around the 2024 elections, he muses: “Every democracy deserves the government they choose. We all have our last chance happening next year.” However, he remains upbeat: “The show is also a personal journey from the paralysis of states of disaster to renewed energy and enjoyment — not just for the audience but for me too. The audition is over; the disease to please is cured. Maybe for the first time I am talking to the audience; not performing for them.”

TheCapeRobyn: You did online shows during the lockdown, recorded from a studio. Is Sell-By-Date your first new stage show, after the pandemic — with a live in-person audience?

PDU: I did an interim show in October 2022: Lockup/Lockdown — more a healing experience, trying to find my self-confidence after 670 days of inaction as a performer. It was very challenging. So, yes, this is my first post-Covid concert. And with a live in-person audience! That’s the challenge. Will they leave their fortress-homes? I think everyone has been affected (if not infected) by the virus. Just being trapped in a smallish space with yourself for nearly two years is enough to change many one-track minds. The rat race was gone; the Zoom would lead to nothing. All we could do was to wait. Every day felt like Tuesday. And yet we cared for each other. That’s a new commitment. Let’s hope we don’t lose it.

TheCapeRobyn: Reflections on the medium — screen back to stage? There was no heckling or chirping with the online shows — although sometimes there was bar — which allowed comments.

PDU: Trapped in a darkened room with two cameras glinting in the murky light was enough to send one running into the street. No reactions; no people. Just the memory of what should be laughter. Holding the pause long enough? Then onto the next onslaught. It was chilling. But then I am used to performing for my cats, so the cameras became them and all was well. But there is nothing that can beat LIVE. As I say in the show: Church and Theatre; from God’s mouth to your lawyer’s ear!

TheCapeRobyn: Can you tell us about what inspired this show and the narrative arc of the show?

PDU: I looked in the cracked mirror one day and said: ‘Hello? Are you still here?’ At 77 the first thing people ask is: ‘Have you stopped? If not, why not?’ Ridiculous question. I just quote Noel Coward: ‘Darling, as long as your speak clearly and don’t bump into the furniture!’ The show is also a personal journey from the paralysis of states of disaster to renewed energy and enjoyment — not just for the audience but for me too. The audition is over; the disease to please is cured. Maybe for the first time I am talking to the audience; not performing for them.

TheCapeRobyn: In addition to the characters/alter egos we have seen in the past, can we expected to see others conjured up on stage — such as Eskom officials?

PDU: The most difficult character I have always clash with is ‘Pieter-Dirk Uys’. I think in this show he is my mirror-image and not my rival. I have few of the old usual suspects just to remind us all where we come from, and then celebrate my three superstars: Nowell, Bambi and Evita. In the age of woke, how long will I be allowed to perform them in public? Let’s enjoy the ladies while we can.

TheCapeRobyn: Your role as a satirist and activist has been core to your work. Is anyone listening in power and how does that feed into the way you are presenting this show?

PDU: I have no thoughts about third-rate politicians with their fourth rate ideas on the Olympus of power. They work for me; not the other way round. My focus is on the people in the room with me: sharing experiences; reminding of what was good among the bad; also offending here and there to rattle the cage of prejudice. But then speaking clearly and not falling off the stage!

TheCapeRobyn: Do you think that SA is past its sell by date and the electricity grid will collapse?

PDU: South Africa will survive us all. My worry is that the ANC is forcing our democracy into a sell-by date — and what is the alternative? At least during the struggle against apartheid there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Now that light belongs to Eskom. My year used to be 365 days; now it is two days — today and tomorrow. That helps me a lot in focusing on what is possible. The future is pencilled-in because you just never know what’s in store. But today and tomorrow are firmly inked-in.

TheCapeRobyn: What does Evita think about the 2024 elections and if offered would she consider a post as an ambassador — to Russia?

PDU: Evita learnt through her past that the way to a politician’s mind is not through his brain; but through his stomach — and Gwede Mantashe proves her point. She cooks for reconciliation and has suggested that she prepare a special plate of koeksisters for President Putin when he arrives in SA. She’s trying to get the original recipe from Dr Wouter Basson.

TheCapeRobyn: Would Evita consider running for the 2024 elections? She has campaigned in the past. How about now?

PDU: Her political party — Evita’s People’s Party (The EPP) — will help with voter education as usual. She believes firmly in the future of our country, where community is the jewel in the crown of democracy. Every democracy deserves the government they choose. We all have our last chance happening next year.

TheCapeRobyn: How does Evita feel about PDU at 77, still running around the country, doing his shtick?

PDU: Evita is 87 — ten years older than me! (ha ha) She has no interest in my antics. Still regards me as an out-of-work irrelevant comedian — but with good legs.

TheCapeRobyn:  You are the FynArts Legacy Artist for 2023 — you will be presenting Sell-By-Date in Hermanus on June 11 and will be in conversation with Christopher Hope on that day, when he presents you with the award.. Reflections about the award, the festival and what you will be talking about?

PDU: I have no idea. Very keen to be talking to Christopher Hope. Only good can come of that experience.



SPOTLIGHT: SELL-BY-DATE Q&A with the legendary Pieter-Dirk Uys

– Barbara Loots, Theatre Scene Cape Town, 13 May 2023

If someone gives you an opportunity to put questions to the always witty, legendary and profound Pieter-Dirk Uys (PDU), you grab the opportunity with both hands. We did just that! We asked PDU about his approach to theatre and how it has brought him to his new show, SELL-BY-DATE, soon to be onstage at Theatre on the Bay, 17 May to 10 June 2023. His show may be titled SELL-BY-DATE, but the mark he has left on South African theatre and politics is ever-lasting and thankfully he is not stopping any time soon.

TSCT: You began your theatrical career as a playwright, actor and stage director in the late 1960s. How does the PDU thespian of those early years differ from the PDU that steps onto the stage in SELL-BY-DATE?

PDU: For me every performance is the first and the last. Which means one adapts to a daily energy without too much focus on a future. The result is: a future! I sometimes wished I had the trust and hopes that helped me believe that the world was a better place. Difficult nowadays with the reality of news breaking in the palm of your hand.

TSCT: You ultimately established yourself as a one-person-show phenomenon. Many performers find solo performing a very lonely endeavour. How have you sustained this solitary art form (that many fear and actively shy away from) with such apparent joy and determination?

PDU: During the 1970s/1980's I had to be on my own so that only I could be blamed, arrested, killed or ignored. Others would be too much of a responsibility. So it became a habit and a career. I never feel lonely on stage. The audience is the crowd in my life.

TSCT: f you could tell your younger start-out thespian self one thing, one great piece of creative advice, what would it be?

PDU: Besides what Sir Noel Coward gave as advice: 'Speak clearly and don't bump into the furniture'- my advice . . . no, my suggestion is this: enjoy it, believe in it, be careful of listening to too many stabs of advice, don't be scared of cutting half and then losing 50%. In other words, be in charge and take the blame and the embrace.

TSCT: What was the moment when you knew that political commentary would be a central component of the type of theatre you create?

PDU: Every time I saw a sign that said WHITES ONLY, I knew what I had to do. Every time they banned a play of mine, I wrote two more. The moment they tried to frighten me into silence, I rolled on red lipstick and let Tannie Evita handle it. Politics is, after all, the local drug that makes us all addicts. And politics is also here today and gone tonight!

TSCT: Your shows usually have a satirical angle to them, with something political or social presenting itself as the catalyst. What inspired you to create SELL-BY-DATE?

PDU: I looked in the mirror and said: Hello, are you still here? Yes, 77 isn't always the new 55, but experience helps me to keep relevant. I have no intention of sticking to a sell-by date, but chillingly we are all pushing our democracy to the edge of a cliff. Humour helps to confront the unspeakable. And a title is a very important burglar alarm to alert the audience that fun and fear will be sorted out here!

TSCT: As you have evolved over the years, surely your audience has too. What's the biggest difference in audience reaction that you've Identified over the years?

PDU: Every audience is the first and the last reaction to a show. Every audience varies in recognition and focus. That's why it's LIVE. The most important contribution drama can make in all our lives and not streamed from a cloud. (By the way, we used to call that rain!) The funny bone is always there to tickle. Too often it gets beaten up and then there is no more fun.

TSCT: Do you think the political and social climate at any given time makes your audience more or less receptive to satire?

PDU: Satire was once defined as: tragedy plus time equals satire. Today it can't work in South Africa: too much tragedy and no time. So I try and reflect the optimism and hope in the cracked mirror of our daily existence. It's touch and go; touch means laughter; go means listen. I always see a difference between comedy and humour. Comedy is the joke you remember to tell someone else; humour is like a fingerprint. Everyone has a unique sense of humour to laugh at fear — and make that fear less fearful. It is still lethal; it can still kill you, but at least you're in charge. Got your eye on it! It will never be bigger than you. And laughing at corrupt politicians is the first step to their disintegration. Ha ha ha? BOOM!

TSCT: You have your finger on the pulse of the nation, bringing hope, sanity and even a sense of calm in the chaos storm with your shows. What do you think people need most from a PDU show in the current climate?

PDU: To stop worrying about the loadshed at their homes that makes the batteries go flat and kills the burglar alarm. Sit back and have a nice time! And then be surprised that you laugh at things you don't even want to think about.

TSCT: How do you pick your characters when creating a show? Is there a process by which you balance inclusion of your well-known and much-loved characters like Tannie Evita with the challenge of introducing someone new to your repertoire when deciding on the format of the show?

PDU: Somehow the characters decide to join the chorus line. Evita is my Liz Taylor. Nowell is my Bette Midler. Bambi Kellermann is my Cher and they're all in the new show! Lots of Vladimir Putins and Donald Trumps in the wings but they usually fail the audition.

TSCT: You have made 25 of your plays and one-person-show texts available on your website free of charge for people to read for pleasure. Why is it important to you to share your vision in such a generous way?

PDU: We are all in the same boat, having experienced so much together, even though in different cities and countries. I want to share the story of where I come from, reflecting the realties of other lives as well. And most importantly, to remember where we come from, so that we can celebrate where we are going.

TSCT: Even though your shows have strong elements of social reflection, there's always a bit of true PDU in them too. Especially with a show like Echo of a Noise, which was a very funny yet tender memoir. SELL-BY-DATE looks to have that same personal touch as you are describing it as your retreading moment. What does that mean? Are you recalibrating in a way after the noise of the last few years have settled? What can audiences expect of the post-covid tongue-in-cheek PDU realness?

PDU: Great question fat with demands! The pandemic, lockdowns, vaccinations, masks, fear, cancel culture, #MeToo, loadsheds, Phala Phala, Putin, climate change and most concerning of all, our democracy now at its sell-by date? Every new show is my last. I have plans for the future, but all pencilled in. Let's see what happens tomorrow!

TSCT: It has been announced that you will be the 2023 FynArts Legacy Award recipient. You are set to receive it on 11 June for your longstanding and distinctive contribution to the arts in South Africa and beyond. That evening you'll be back on stage again performing SELL-BY-DATE at the Hermanus FynArts Festival after just finishing your Theatre on the Bay run the night before. Having given many years of marvellous laughs to the arts already, what inspires you to still (after this and many other well-deserved accolades) return to the stage time-and-time again with such commitment?

PDU: I'm an entertainer that tries to stick to the recipe: 49% anger versus 51% entertainment - not the other way round. It's a full-time job. Maybe I'm just starting!

PDU: P.S. Volume Two:  'One Man Shows: The Mandela Rainbow Honeymoon 1994-1999' will be launched onto thewww.pdu.co.za - free to all - on Madiba Day 18 July 2023)

South African author, satirist, and social activist Pieter-Dirk Uys brings his latest show SELL-BY DATE to Pieter Toerien's Theatre On The Bay from Wednesday, 17 May until 10 June 2023. The show features not only the man himself, but also a cluster of topical characters, male, female... and political. Tickets are available online through Webtickets.



Pieter-Dirk Uys Sell By Date Theatre On The Bay

– philip, mapmyway.co.za, 9 May 2023

WORLD PREMIER of Sell By Date!

Pieter-Dirk Uys, South African author, satirist, and social activist, brings his latest show SELL-BY DATE to Pieter Toerien’s Theatre On The Bay from Wednesday, 17 May until Saturday, 10 June. It’s the world premiere!

The show is called SELL-BY DATE and, as expected from his one-person performances, features not only the man himself, but also a cluster of topical characters, male, female… and political.

Being active in live theatre since the late 1960s, he is not surprised when people now ask: ‘When will you retire?’ His answer is short and sweet: ‘Not retire. Retread!’

This 2023 performance will also show Uys at his 77-year-old best: laughing at fears and embracing facts with his tongue firmly in your cheek.

“This satirist, commentator and comedian still has it in spades!” THE CITIZEN

“Uys clearly has his finger on the pulse of the nation. He will get you giggling, while hitting you hard and making you think.” THE STAR

“Uys dons eyelashes, and presidents listen.” THE LA Times

“Sparing nobody and nothing, he reaches for the jugular in every context — but more entertaining than the sheer skill of characterisation and his ability to force you to laugh at your greatest fears, is the unique structure of this production.”  SA Jewish Report

WHAT: Pieter-Dirk Uys — SELL-BY DATE

WHERE: Theatre on the Bay,

WHEN: 17 May until Saturday, 10 June | Duration: approx’ 90-minutes. No interval

TICKETS: From R150 – R250. |  Bookings through webtickets.co.za or through the Theatre On The Bay box-office on (021) 438-3300/1



Interview: Pieter-Dirk Uys of SELL-BY DATE at Theatre on the Bay Talks Politics, Theatre and Humour

This production runs from 17 May to 10 June.

– Jaime Uranovsky, Broadway World, 10 May 2023

South African author, satirist, and social activist Pieter-Dirk Uys brings his latest show, SELL-BY DATE, to Pieter Toerien's Theatre on the Bay later this month.

The show, as expected from Uys' one-person performances, features not only the man himself, but also a cluster of topical characters. Being active in live theatre since the late 1960s, he is not surprised when people now ask: 'When will you retire?' His answer is short and sweet: 'Not retire. Retread!' Below, Uys shares his thoughts with about the show and about how politics and theatre intersect in contemporary South Africa.

BWW: Let's start off with — What can audiences expect from SELL-BY DATE? Tell me a little bit about the show.

Pieter-Dirk Uys: It's a combination of what we all have been through: a pandemic and lockdown that lasted for two years; the cluster of disasters that lead to more chaos; the present daily roster of loadshedding that keeps us all in the dark for most of each day and the fact that our democracy has also possibly reached its sell-by date? My recent knee-replacement surgery has also reminded me of the fact that 77 is not the new 55! Then there is the new energy of cancel culture: for how long will it be possible to present Evita Bezuidenhout? Or is that now politically and culturally incorrect? What happened to acting? My show has a few hilarious hiccups of humour that will make people gasp and laugh at the madness of our world. Note: my sell-by date does not automatically become an expiry date!

BWW: Do you have any pre-show rituals? If yes, what are they?

PDU: Check the headlines to make sure all my chorus line of characters are still alive! And make sure that a load-shed does not affect the run of the show.

BWW: You say that you will not retire but instead that you will 'retread'. Can you elaborate on that?

PDU: A retreaded tyre can last for a long time. Retirement should be a choice, not a goal or jail. So many people over the 'retirement age' are still active and bright. They should carry on until they decide to slow down. The great thing about theatre is: there is no red line not to cross; as long as you speak clearly and don't bump into the furniture, your life on stage is secure!

BWW: Do you have a favourite character who you embody/have embodied?

PDU: I suppose the most difficult character for me to embody is 'Pieter-Dirk Uys'. Once I have him sorted out, the other characters can emerge and take over the space.

BWW: Taking stock of where South Africa currently is, what is your hope for the country? What is needed of us to deal with (some of) the many issues which we face?

PDU: My year used to have 365 days. Now it has two days: today and tomorrow. After the recent freeze-frame of lockdown, one is not that sure what lies ahead. Focus on the present and make it as perfect as possible. That can only help the day after. A visit to the theatre, to be part of a live experience, can help us all focus on what is optimistic and what needs to be fixed. Humour is a great weapon of mass distraction. Laugh at your fear and make it less fearful.

BWW: Do you believe that political theatre is still as relevant as it was during the days of the Struggle? What is its role — does it still have a place? How (if at all) would you say your work/material has responded to the ever-changing South African political landscape?

PDU: Struggle theatre was essential when we were in a struggle to embrace democracy. Now the struggle to be democratic has become the problem, and so I stick to my balance of 49% anger versus 51% entertainment. My work is to amuse, often offend and hopefully entertain. Politics is just the doggy-poo on the shoe. My political scriptwriters have never let me down, from the old National Party to the present ANC. The 2024 general election is a magnet that affects everything, and as I have repeated in many a show: hypocrisy is the Vaseline of political intercourse.

BWW: As a political theatre-maker, to what degree do you believe laughter and humour can be used as a tool to enact change? Or is this asking too much of comedy and satire?

PDU: It's all about the story: tell the tale and share the excitement with the audience. Comedy and humour make the world go around. I always hope to encourage laughter at things that people are afraid to confront. Rattle the cage and rethink what is taken for granted. And more important than anything: come and have a nice time!

BWW: What would you like audiences to take away from watching your most recent show?

PDU: 'My goodness! Is he still at it!'

BWW: Describe the show in three words.

PDU: Sell-by-Date.



Pieter-Dirk Uys, aka PDU, is the 2023 FynArts Legacy Award recipient

Art Times, 5 April 2023

This much-loved South African icon will receive this coveted award on Sunday morning, 11 June, in honour of his longstanding and distinctive contribution to the arts in South Africa and beyond. That evening he will be on stage with a new one-man performance, Sell-by-Date, doing what he does best: laughing at fears and embracing facts with his tongue firmly in your cheek.

Pieter-Dirk Uys, whose multi-faceted world includes performing, writing, directing, political commentary and social activism, has entertained audiences for more than half a century with his unique sense of humour and razor-sharp commentary on the South African zeitgeist. The 2023 Legacy Award will be presented to him by Christopher Hope, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as part of the Strauss & Co Series of Presentations. At this not-to-be-missed event Christopher will also be talking to PDU about his life and work.

Sunday 11 June at 11:00 BOOK NOW

A sell-by-date on food usually means: throw away. A sell-by-date in PDU’s hands will reflect a new post-Covid energy, proving that while his audition might be over and the disease to please has been cured, a PDU show is always a highlight to remember. As expected from his one-man performances, this show features not only PDU but also a cluster of topical characters, male, female and political. Sell-by-Date shows PDU at his 77-year old best, bringing laughter to various states of disaster. As always his political scriptwriters are not letting him down!

Sunday 11 June at 18:30. BOOK NOW




Pieter-Dirk Uys is back with a brand new show. It is called SELL-BY DATE and, as expected from his one-person performances, it features not only PDU but also a cluster of topical characters: male, female and political.

As Uys has been active in live theatre since the late 1960s, he is not surprised when people now ask: 'When will you retire?' His answer is short and sweet: 'Not retire. Retread!'

A sell-by date on food usually means: throw way. A sell-buy date in Uys's hands will reflect a new post-Covid energy that proves that, while his audition might be over and the disease to please has been cured, a PDU show is always a highlight to remember.

SELL-BY DATE will show Uys at his 77-year-old best: laughing at fears and embracing facts with his tongue firmly in your cheek.