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Saturday, November 5, 2011


(Pic by Val Adamson: Aaron McIlroy as Cornelius Pruitt Leder)

Undeniably Aaron McIlroy’s best show to date! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Aaron McIlroy has garnered a major support group around South Africa with numerous productions such as The Loser, The Stand-Up, The Golfer and DOF as well as those in which he appears with his equally popular wife, the inimitable Lisa Bobbert.

However, his latest production - Aaron McIlroy @ Work in which he takes on the corporate world - is undeniably his best show to date. It is another successful collaboration between McIlroy and former Durban award-winning actress and writer, Susan Monteregge. Now living in the United Kingdom, she has written a hilarious script which is embellished with McIlroy’s individual touch, not to mention his well-known audience repartee. Sit in the front row at your peril!

As always, to give the man time to go through hectic costume changes, there are video links in the format of power presentations, most of them hilarious.

The only elements of the show that are not McIlroy are a voice-over by Lisa Bobbert and a photograph of an old man. In a dizzying stream of characters, completely individual and believable and all with different voices, he takes a look at a corporate business which has just appointed a new Corporate CEO by the name of Cornelius Pruitt Leder. With gleaming white teeth, casually-styled grey hair in a padded well-cut suit giving him a body-building frame, he struts around the stage spouting corporate jargon in his American accent as he urges his workforce to great heights.

Then we meet the people under him who each have their own take on their new boss. There’s E Dube from Human Resources, who has a degree in African Studies and produced a thesis with a title nearly as long as the work itself. All Afro hair and dark glasses, he explains the various levels of leadership – from "autocratic" to "servant".

Scooting around on a typist’s chair with his red jeans at half-mast is ultra-casual Josh Berman whose dad got him the job of IT support. He finds Pruitt Leder’s demands seriously freak him out as does the rock, paper scissors game. And, after all, “the winner of the rat race is still a rat”!

Then we meet the simpering red-haired Dustin, the PA who has emotional feelings for his boss. From the basement comes Wally Huang, an illegal immigrant skivvy. Dressed in a traditional Chinese tunic suit he engagingly shows us how well he can speak English. Then comes the sales manager - a clone of one of Aaron’s best-loved characters, the fast-talking Vijay Moodley - who has a lot to say about “thinking outside the box” and the Miss Universe pageant.

The final character is Eric Chisholm, the retiring head of the accounting department giving a speech at his farewell party and here McIlroy’s acting skills as a serious actor can be glimpsed through the pathos of the event.

Amid the fun and nonsense, there are a number of songs and McIlroy proves that he’s just as agile on his feet with a very funny send-up of Bollywood and contemporary dance and an endearing tap dance from the old man.

Aaron McIlroy @ Work runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban until November 27. Tickets R95 booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at Tonight’s capacity audience left the theatre happy and laughing – you can’t argue with that as an endorsement! – Caroline Smart