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Friday, October 3, 2014


(Darren King & Lisa Bobbert)
If you like good drama with some hilarious comedy, then don’t miss this! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Running at DHS’s Seabrooke’s Theatre is Laughing Wild, an internationally acclaimed two-hander comedy by Christopher Durang which Durban audiences first saw in 2004. It was directed then by Steven Stead who now oversees the show’s KZN revival.

This is not a production to be undertaken lightly, unless you have performers of the calibre of Lisa Bobbert and Darren King. Particularly Bobbert, who has to handle the highly demanding role of a woman who is emotionally unstable and highly volatile to the point of physical abuse. A person who suffers from sleep deprivation, she has been in psychiatric care no less than three times! This role challenges all of Bobbert’s considerable skills – from comedy to fury and hysteria to pathos, often switching in a few seconds – and she comes through with flying colours.

Providing the contrast in the role of the man, Darren King handles this outwardly-calm yet inwardly-insecure character with sensitivity. Also lacking in self-worth, there is much gentle humour as he tries to find inner calm but often fails, even when he resorts to the use of a crystal. He’s too scared to go out of doors and often speaks at breakneck speed. King was hilarious as the dream image of the resplendent Infant of Prague.

The two monologues form the major component of the play, first time round, both performers deservedly won awards for their roles. They handle every mood with self-assurance and fulfil every comedic moment.

First presented as an off-Broadway production in New York in 1987 (with Christopher Durang in the cast), the play is set in New York in the late 80’s.

The man and woman are attending Personality Workshops so the play is constructed in such a way that we see each individual’s self-revelations. The subjects that disturb them range from nuclear waste and the intolerance of the Catholic Church to rude taxi drivers, lack of employment and inane talk show hosts – just to mention a few issues!

While they don’t actually know each other, they are connected over a fracas in a supermarket where the woman attacked the man because he got in her way of getting a package of tuna fish. Towards the end of the play, we see them connect in a series of alternate versions of this incident as well as wild imaginings in each other’s dreams.

The set is simple but effective, with a city skyline forming a background. Otherwise, the only other set props are a chair, a podium, a glass of water and some cue cards.

They both find the only answer to calmness lies in breathing deeply – something I tell all my voice production clients – and it works!

If you like good drama with some hilarious comedy, then don’t miss this!

The production runs at DHS’s Seabrooke’s Theatre in Musgrave from October 2 to 12 with performances from Tuesday to Saturday at 19h30 (Sunday at 15h00). Tickets R100 can be booked through Web Tickets at (enquiries on 086 122 5598). – Caroline Smart