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Saturday, October 31, 2015


(Simmi Areff)

A delightfully amusing and “laugh-out-aloud” show and well worth seeing. (Review by Keith Millar)

I remember several years ago listening to, and enjoying, Simmi Areff’s contributions to Darren Scott’s Big Breakfast Show on East Coast Radio. He was always full of fun, amiable and witty.

It was a disappointment when, as so many of Durban’s talented youngsters do, he moved to Johannesburg to further his career in radio and on the comedy circuit. Since then, he has done very well and is now regarded as one of the country’s top up-and-coming comedians.

So when the opportunity arose to see him in Stay At Home Son, the first one-man show he has brought to Durban, I was happy to go – and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Areff is a friendly, affable and entertaining character and, most importantly, he is an especially clever and funny comedian. He employs a conversational style for his act, constantly involving his audience in his stories and observations. The intimate Playhouse Loft is ideal for this, with its steeply-raked seating resulting in performers and audience being in close proximity to each other.

As a result, it is not only the front row that is at risk but anyone in the theatre who can - and did - become Areff’s victims. Including this reviewer who was ragged at great length – even having his rather haphazard notes read out to the audience!

However, “victim” is not the right word because Areff is so good-natured and likeable that at no stage did he make anyone feel particularly uncomfortable or threatened.

During his show, Areff wanders through many subjects including Oscar Pistorius, Jacob Zuma, Woolworths boycotts, gumboot dancing, his fiancée’s love of Wakaberry, being a Muslim, living in Hillcrest, owning a horse as a pet ... and plenty more. The only subject he does not spend much time on, despite the title of his show, is that of being a stay-at-home son.

A pleasant and unexpected surprise was the appearance of Durban comedian Neil Green in a brief warm-up the start of the evening. He is another very funny young man.

All in all, I liked Simmi Areff. I also liked his comedy. Stay at Home Son is a delightfully amusing and “laugh-out-aloud” show and well worth seeing.

Stay At Home Son has performances tonight and tomorrow night at 20h00 in the Playhouse Loft. Tickets R150 booked through Computicket and available at the Playhouse Box Office. – Keith Millar