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Friday, February 20, 2015


(Aaron McIlroy & Lisa Bobbert)

Powerhouse times two as Bobbert and McIlroy create flurry of fun and nonsense. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Eight years ago, the irrepressible duo of Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert launched a production which won a number of awards called Defending the Planet, a whacky take on alien abduction.

They’re back in full force with Defending the Planet #2 which is set at the Annual General Meeting of Alien Abductees Anonymous. The meeting is hosted by Helen Degenerate (get it?) who then introduces various speakers and entertainers. These are all portrayed by either Bobbert or McIlroy in a flurry of fun and nonsense.

For those who don’t know, Bobbert and McIlroy are married and between them, they have amassed an impressive number of awards over the years for their work. Rightly so – individually they are bundles of energy but combined they are a formidable force. A powerhouse times two!

Working on a simple but effective set with excellent lighting by Mike Broderick, the pair look at what the AAA’s aims are and how to recognise alien intervention.

Those who saw the first Defending the Planet will recognise the manic Nigel Bjorn van Rensburg, a favourite McIlroy character who - if I remember correctly, is the offspring of an alien and a member of ABBA! One of the most hilarious scenes is when van Rensburg leaps at, pokes, thumps and generally mercilessly attacks an alien dummy which descends from the heavens.

McIlroy also gives an amusing portrayal of a stuffy academic as well as a black rapper. And of course, no show with McIlroy would be complete without his fast-talking Vijay Maharaj who has his own commercial take on the five stages of coping with alien abduction.

Bobbert, who generates applause from the very outset, plays Helen Degenerate with smooth charm and control, informing us that she is the daughter of Liberace and an alien. Among other roles, she revisits her slightly dof car guard Delphine but her best was the sexy Mauritian Dr Martine Bardot who was very concerned about the extinction of the dodo.

There is much audience participation – we are the initiates, there to learn about our Alien Abductee experience and it was good to see members joining in the fun. McIlroy is well known for his mild bullying and I never cease to be amazed at his physical energy and agility!

The show is full of high energy well-known music numbers and well-peppered with current gags. Parliament comes in for its fair share of ribbing!

Written by Susan Monteregge and directed by Darren King, Defending the Planet #2 runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until March 15 with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 and Sundays at 14h00 (NB: Change of time to accommodate possible load-shedding). Tickets R150 (R120 students and pensioners) available through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at

For block bookings at discounted rates, contact Ailsa Windsor at Going Places via email or call 031 201 2831 / 083 250 2690. – Caroline Smart