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Tuesday, July 14, 2015


(Reviews from the artSMart team at the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown)

(James Cairns, Albert Pretorius & Rob van Vuuren. Pic by Dani Bischoff & Jon Keevy)

Edgy, innovative and certainly pushes the envelope. (Review by Keith Millar)

The creative team consisting of actors Rob Van Vuuren, Albert Pretorius and James Cairns and director Tara Notcutt, were responsible for Three Little Pigs, a hilarious satirical production about corruption in the South African Police. This smash hit play was seen at previous National Arts Festivals in Grahamstown and it also toured overseas very successfully.

The same team brought a brand new production, very much in the same vein, called Three Blind Mice to the festival this year.

With satire being pivotal to the 2015 festival, this innovative and well-performed sardonic comedy proved to be a perfect fit. It was eagerly anticipated by festival goers and all performances were sold out well in advance

Whereas Three Little Pigs parodied the ills within the South African Police Force, Three Blind Mice sets as its target the South African legal and penal systems.

The Three Blind Mice embark one night to raid the Nkandla-like home of an ex-President, now a farmer, looking for as much cheese as they can find and carry away. While they are there, a home invasion takes place and the farmer is murdered.

The farmer’s wife catches the mice and cuts of their tails with a carving knife. Although they swear that they were framed, they are arrested for the murder, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As the play progresses and the mice plot a way to prove their innocence, caustic references are made about the many legal issues and high profile court cases trials which have dominated our news reports in recent times.

Caustic reference is made to events such as the Oscar Pistorius, Shrien Dewani and Waterkloof 4 court cases and about medical parolee Schabir Shaik. The Nkandla scandal also receives a fair amount of acerbic comment as do farm and home invasions. While no-one is mentioned by name, the dialogue makes it quite obvious who or what is being discussed.

Rob Van Vuuren, Albert Pretorius and James Cairns are superb in the roles of the blind mice as well as the many other comic characters that populate this production. They slide between characters seamlessly and with accuracy. All three are experienced comedy actors and skilled at the timing and control required in a production such as this.

Direction was in the safe and sure hands of Tara Notcutt.

Three Blind Mice is a very funny and very clever satire. It is edgy, innovative and certainly pushes the envelope. You find yourself laughing a lot - but feeling a little uncomfortable at the same time for been so amused.

The production of Three Blind Mice uses a proven winning formula and should be an audience favourite wherever it is staged. – Keith Millar

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