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Thursday, March 31, 2011


(Pic: Thomie Holtzhausen)

Entertaining two-hander explores what men talk about in bars. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Another Man’s Poison is a compilation of stories of love, lust and adventure with deadly consequences as seen through the eyes of a barman and his various clients.

Written and performed by Thomie Holtzhausen, this one-hour two-hander is a highly amusing and entertaining exploration into the insecurities and sexuality of men. Holtzhausen takes on the persona of the barman as well as his four clients while Anthony Stonier fills the role of the Pianist, tinkling away in the background during most of the action and providing droll laconic comment.

Directed by Clare Mortimer, the play moves at a good pace from its deliberately slow start which sees Stonier wandering in and setting up at the piano before Holtzhausen enters to place candles on the piano top, almost as if before an altar. Apart from the instrument, there is a good-sized bar counter which allows the various positioning of the clients so that they are clearly identifiable.

The clients share their secrets and the barman listens, encourages, analyses, sympathises and supports. He has a good method of dealing with those who are not willing to chat by asking for their CV’s under the pretext of putting them up for better jobs. This allows him the opportunity to learn more about them. He’s a pocket psychiatrist but at the end we realise he has serious problems of his own to contend with.

The clientele includes the reticent Jonathan, bitter and disillusioned Conrad reflecting on his broken marriage and stuttering energised Jaco who believes he’s found his soul mate. Then there’s the respectable church-goer, Willie, who decided to go to a Men’s Only party without realising what he was letting himself in for. Finally, there’s ultra camp Roger who boasts of his endless conquests … but who is he kidding?

The dialogue is deliciously cynical and includes lines such as: “Never trust anyone who hides their face behind paint”. The females in last night’s audience laughed as much as their male counterparts, proving that this is a show that will appeal to both sexes!

Thomie Holtzhausen is invariably seen to great success in pantomimes – both traditional and adult – so it is good to see him in a purely dramatic role which allows him to portray his acting skills. Also good to see Anthony Stonier just being himself – a good piano player with a ready repartee.

Another Man’s Poison runs at Seabrooke’s Theatre until April 10. Tickets through Ailsa on 083 250 2690. – Caroline Smart