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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


(Photo by Gerhard Duraan: Willem Nieman & Byron Langley)

Two young actors have a good future ahead of them as a comedy double act. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The word “rage” has come to have two meanings – the original description of anger and now the term given to the post matric parties that take place towards the end of the year. Matric Rage means an all-out chaotic non-stop party, and sometimes this has resulted in drunken parties with excessively loud music, serious damage to accommodation establishments, and general mayhem.

Event organisers have now tried to instil some control by providing entertainment as well as activities to occupy these active youngsters newly released from studying and school discipline – some out of parental control for the first time in their lives. And this is where the term “Rage” originates.

The Rage party at Plettenberg Bay is the setting for writer and director Catherine Mace’s Rage which opened at Seabrooke’s Theatre this evening. As the show starts, our two young men – Byron (Byron Langley) and Willem (Willem Nieman) - burst into the theatre, full of energy and excitement as they head for the end of year Rage frolics.

They have just got off the bus at a petrol station in Plet in the early hours of the morning. Their rampant enthusiasm and desire to get laid – as often as possible, they’re not choosy – slowly dissipates as they plonk themselves down on two garbage bins, try to keep warm and see the night out until the nearest eatery opens. To keep themselves awake, they practice their ping pong and here I have to comment them for their vocal effects of the sound of the ball going backwards and forwards from bat to bat at top speed.

Byron and Willem have a good future ahead of them as a double act. Close friends since early days, they bounce their energies off each other to good effect: the mercurial, loose-limbed Willem balancing the calmer Byron. If they continue the way they’re going, they have the potential to follow in the footsteps of successful duos such as Jacobus van Heerden and Liam Magner as well as that irrepressible duo, Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkhwane.

They hold their pauses well, just stopping short of going way over the top and there is a very funny sequence where they get spaced out on wake-up pills. However, when it’s called for, they are capable of handling a sensitive and poignant scene with maturity and understanding.

Catherine Mace has written some refreshingly delicious lines and the show is a veritable bounce-along ride. Her comedy has an engaging quirky style but there is much thought-provoking sub-text about the power of Facebook in all the fooling around. In her director’s note, she says that a show that began as a need to showcase the talents of the two young actors evolved “into a lot of silliness and a heap of fun!” I completely agree with her sentiments that both Byron Langley and Willem Nieman have what it takes to succeed in the performing arts industry.

Rage! runs until June 25 at the Seabrooke’s Theatre on the Durban High School (DHS) campus with performances at 19h00. Seating is unreserved. Tickets R60 (R30 pensioners) booked by contacting 031 277 1570 or e-mailing seabrooke’ – Caroline Smart