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Tuesday, July 11, 2017


(Klara Van Wyk)

Superior theatre out of the top drawer. (Review by Keith Millar)

The social life of a teenager is not always easy. Particularly at school where there is a desperate need to fit, to be part of the “A” crowd and where to be even to be slightly different will probably result in you being ostracised and possibly bullied.

For Pretina De Jager it is even more difficult. She is an Afrikaans girl who in grade 9 is placed in an English school by her mother so that she could learn an international language.

You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths is a hilarious one-woman comedy piece which chronicles Pretina’s efforts to survive her circumstances and offers advice to others in a similar position.

The production was written and is performed by Klara Van Wyk and directed by Francesco Nassimbeni. It won an Ovation Award at the Festival in 2016 and also earned Van Wyk a Fleur-Du-Cap nomination.

Van Wyk calls her herself a new wave clown and comedienne. I am not sure what that means but I think she is absolutely brilliant. Both in her writing and her interpretation of the character she captures the essence of a complex chewing gum popping, confused, angst ridden, lovable, sulky and difficult teenage girl to a T. That is a lot of words to describe a person, but it is fact and anyone who has had the pleasure and pain of raising a teenage girl will identify completely with Pretina.

The production is hilariously funny. On entering the theatre one sees Van Wyk as Pretina slouching on a bean bag in her untidy teenage room, popping gum, rolling her eyes in frustration and surreptitiously eyeing the handsome boys in the audience. Not a word is said, but she has her audience in stitches before the action has even started. And it goes on from there. Brilliantly insightful, sympathetic, biting and very, very funny.

It is also not without darkness and pathos. How could it not be when dealing with an issue as contentious as school bullying? The intelligence of Van Wyk’s script perfectly balances the two aspects and leaves you highly entertained but also with plenty to think about.

You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths is superior theatre out of the top drawer. If ever the opportunity arises to see a performance of this production drop everything and go. – Keith Millar

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