national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, January 19, 2012


(Evita Bezuidenhout, rumoured to be the next Mrs Zuma!)

South African theatre doyen Pieter-Dirk Uys and his alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, will be back at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway after a long absence with a brand new show, Desperate First Ladies, for three performances only on January 25 and 26 (two shows already sold out).

After a recent performance in Los Angeles, the reviewer simply stated, “Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen.” In Desperate First Ladies, Evita Bezuidenhout graciously shares the stage with a chorus line of other outspoken and iconic women from all walks of life, including Cape Malay DA firebrand Mrs Petersen; the former first lady of Libya, Madame Gaddafi; Mother Teresa, who is manning the telephone exchange in heaven; the kugel Nowell Fine; and Evita’s blonde and dangerous sister and the black sheep of the family, Bambi Kellermann.

Pieter-Dirk Uys will bring his trademark satirical commentary into the mix, which remains as serrated as ever after almost four decades of sending up political ignorance and social stupidity. He always thanks politicians, black and white, right and wrong, for giving him a career for the last 38 years, as well as the government of the day for writing his material.

From the era of PW Botha – his bread-and-Botha – to the present Zumocracy with its three first ladies (or will it be four?), he is still inspired by the madness in our politics. Nothing has changed. On stage with many characters familiar and some once feared, Uys goes on a great comedy trek of South Africa, to remind us where we come from and encourage us to celebrate where we are going to, with laughter and optimism.

South Africa, now in its 18th year of democracy, has a generation of young voters who were born after apartheid was officially terminated in 1994. Today’s icon is often the imprisoned and banned enemy of the past who is now the hero of yesterday, and those old white icons that were once on the stamps and the coins, are seen as the politically-incorrect has-beens of today.

Put an icon like Mandela next to an aikona like Verwoerd. Once they were vice-versa. How could we so meekly have agreed when politicians told us that Mandela’s picture was not to be seen for 27 years? Are we going to allow government to again hide their corruptions behind the veils of secrecy and state security? Today there must be much laughter, sometimes bitter, often relieved, at the memories of those days of dictatorship. It took 40 years for us to liberate ourselves and start again. Apartheid will never come back under the same name, but bad politics is clever enough to reinvent itself, and humour against fear is a great weapon of survival.

Pieter-Dirk Uys won no less three awards in 2010 – a Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, a Naledi Lifetime Achievement Award for his creation Evita, and a Fleur du Cap Award for Best Cabaret starring Bambi Kellermann. Uys still thanks politicians of all hues and persuasions for “giving me a career for the last 38 years, as well as the government of the day for writing my best material”.

Pieter-Dirk Uys’ Desperate First Ladies runs at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway with evening shows on January 26 and 27. However, these two performances are sold out. To meet public demand for an additional show, there will be a late afternoon performance on January 26 at 16h00 (with the theatre opening at 15h00), and the tickets are R130 per person.

Bookings essential through The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045, e-mail or visit for more information