national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, September 3, 2015


(David Muller)

David Muller as Oom Schalk Lourens is the quintessential Afrikaner storyteller. (Review by Keith Millar)

Back at the Seabrooke's Theatre in Durban for a brief season after his successful visit last year, is the charming and entertaining storyteller, David Muller.

Adopting the persona of Herman Charles Bosman’s inimitable raconteur, Oom Schalk Lourens, he shares five of the author’s memorable and humorous stories about the colourful inhabitants of the Bushveld town of Groot Marico and its surrounds.

Herman Charles Bosman, who died at the age of 46 in 1951, is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s greatest and most popular short story writers. After graduating from University he served for a while as a schoolteacher in Groot Marico. He was captivated and inspired by the area and its people, and this led to the creation of his best-known short stories, the Oom Schalk series.

These enduring stories have become South African classics and they epitomise the “salt of the earth” South Africans who inhabit the rural areas of the country.

David Muller as Oom Schalk Lourens is the quintessential Afrikaner storyteller. The tales he relates capture the essence and atmosphere of the Marico Bushveld and its people with wit, charm and great warmth. His pace and timing is excellent and he keeps the audience transfixed throughout his performance.

The first story is entitled the Music Maker. It is a rather satirical tale about Mannie Kruger, the best concertina player in the Marico, who decides to seek fame on the international stage. Next is The White Ant, a whimsical story which suggests that the threat posed by these insects may be even worse than it first appears.

Go Slow Strike is about the effects a national Post Office strike has on Jurie Steyn, the Postmaster of Groot Marico. The Love Potion is the juice of the Juba-plant berry. Oom Schalk sets out to prove that it really works.

The final offering is Willem Prinsloo’s Peach Brandy which is a hilarious story of courtship and the over-consumption of alcohol. A nice touch to help set the scene is when lucky audience members in the front row are treated to a taste of the peach brandy.

The presentation of this production is kept simple. The set consists of only a roughly-hewn yellowwood bench, while the only props Muller uses are his pipe and a tin mug of coffee (or is it possibly peach brandy?). This ensures that there are no distractions and the audience’s attention is focused fully on Muller’s excellent story telling.

Oom Schalk from the Heart 2 is astutely directed by Celia Musikanth.

After his performance, Muller engages the audience in a casual conversation during which he gives away a copy of Herman Charles Bosman’s stories.

Oom Schalk, From the Heart 2 runs until September 19 at Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS with performances starting at 19h00. Advanced booking is strongly advised. Tickets R100 booked through Clare McIlroy on 071 224 1046 or e-mail - Keith Millar