national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Little gem of a production is delightful, poignant, insightful and very, very funny. (Review by Keith Millar)

Hamish Kyd is a force of nature. Alone on the Playhouse Drama stage without any set or props he keeps his audience entertained, very amused, moved - and even a little educated - as he performs his little gem of a production Knowing You ... Knowing Me.

This delightful, poignant, insightful and very, very funny work is about Lenny Stalk, who is a down-to-earth and honest tradesman. He has raised his son Otis single-handedly after the death of his wife.

Otis is a creative fashion design student and a respectful and loving son. Then circumstances conspire to force Otis to announce that he is gay. Lenny is devastated. The concept of a gay son is completely foreign to the life he knows and understands.

He will go to any ends to, as he says, “un-gay” his son.

The play starts with Lenny (Kyd) kneeling on stage praying to his God. He is asking for a solution to the perceived problem he has with his son. God appoints a group of angels (the audience) to hear Lenny’s story and offer him advice.

Lenny relates hilarious tales of growing up in Sydenham. He tells of his marriage and love for his wife and of her death while giving birth to Otis. He also reveals that he himself did not followed the conventional path in matters of the heart. He eventually comes to the realisation that he will have to follow the advice he had often given his son. That is, “to go to that place deep in your soul, and ask the little voice for an answer”.

In the end the audience is left with food for thought on issues such as tolerance, understanding and compassion.

South Africa’s various cultures are unquestionably rich in character and personality. In Knowing You ... Knowing Me we are given a loving and insightful glimpse into the coloured communities of Durban. While humour is Kyd’s vehicle, it is never disrespectful and the many colourful characters he describes are brought to life through his words.

Hamish Kyd is a veteran community activist, playwright, actor, producer, director and author. His work has been produced on many occasions on the stages of Durban as well as on radio and television. In 2009 he was a recipient of the Living Legend Award from the Ethekwini Municipality for his contribution to arts and culture in KZN.

He brings all this experience to bear in a sublime performance as Lenny Stalk in Knowing You Knowing Me. Direction is by Hamish’s daughter Leveen Kyd, musical direction by Dawn Gaillard and musical arrangements are by Chris Ruiters.

In keeping with Kyd’s community theatre involvement, this production is been presented as a fundraiser by Durban’s St Theresa’s R.C. Primary School. It is also serving as a launch for Kyd’s third book which is based on the play, and is also titled Knowing You ... Knowing Me. Copies of the book will be on sale in the Playhouse foyer and part of the proceeds will also go to St Theresa’s Primary School.

Knowing You ... Knowing Me is entertaining, warm and thought-provoking theatre by a master of the craft. Don’t miss it.

It runs in the Playhouse Drama until July 28 at 19h30. Booking is at Computicket. – Keith Millar