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Saturday, December 27, 2014


(From top: Bev Cooke-Tonnesen, Sanele Sibiya, Yasmien Winkler, Danielle Fleuriot, Gill Brunings and Ndumiso Mhlongo)
Big laughs, big exuberance, big performances and most certainly big entertainment. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s newest improve comedy troupe is called B.I.G, and they launched their first show, Down the Chimney and Round the Bend, at Westville Theatre Club last week. And a big occasion it proved to be. Big laughs, big exuberance, big performances and most certainly big entertainment.

Conceived by experienced theatre practitioner and teacher Beverley Cooke-Tonnesen, who is well known for her Gift of The Gab adult acting courses, B.I.G. has big plans for 2015. They intend becoming a force in the Durban Theatre scene and will be staging monthly performance at Durban High School’s Seabrooke’s Theatre, and other venues around the city.

This is good news for theatre lovers as this troupe of young and very talented actors have a fearless and adventurous approach, and offer a fast-paced physical style which is hilariously funny and very entertaining.

Cooke-Tonnesen, is not only coach and director for the troupe but also fills the role of the MC/Major-domo/ringmaster during the show. The others in the cast are Danielle Fleuriot, Sanele Sibiya, Gillian Bruning, Mdumiso Mhlongo and Yasmien Winkler.

The modus operandi is to create the most ridiculous, off the wall, scenarios out of suggestions from the audience and for members of the cast to then improvise a performance of these skits - spontaneously, on the spot and without any rehearsal at all.

For example, they were required to relate how the Mona Liza needed to shave her legs on the French Rivera while Lady GaGa and George Clooney twerked. The actor relating the story spoke a language known only to herself, while another had to attempt a translation for the audience. Then there were pole dancing lessons in the style of a Shakespearean actor, a rugby player, an angry person and a soapie star.

Members of the audience also took part in the action – most notably in a production line producing left handed screwdrivers for Hobbits.

The action is whacky, a little wicked and inevitably very funny. All that is required is that you leave your inhibitions at home, release your inner child and you will have an absolute ball.

Down The Chimney and Round the Bend has one more performance this year. This will be at the Westville Theatre Club on December 31 (New Year’s Eve) at 22h00. There will be two acts followed by dancing to bring the New Year in. Tickets are R100 and include the show, dancing, some bubbly and a few surprises. Call 084 207 4707 to book. – Keith Millar