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Saturday, November 3, 2018


(Pieter-Dirk Uys as Piet Koornhof)

You daren’t lose focus for a minute or you might miss a hilarious aside or sarcastic crack at a politician! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Pieter-Dirk Uys is back in town! What a pleasure! This time with his latest show, When in Doubt, Say Darling.

The title has been in his mind for about 40 years since he worked with one of South Africa’s legendary theatre figures, Taubie Kushlick, who called everyone “Darling”. He expands this by saying that the older one gets, the more difficult it is to remember names! So just call people “darling” instead.

This leads to the fascinating and highly amusing story of how he went to live in Darling in the Cape. He ended up in the town, having lost his way en route to McGregor and fell in love with a total wreck of a Victoria house. He bought it and eventually created his cabaret theatre and restaurant, Evita se Peron, in the old railway station and this is now one of the tourist attractions in the area.

The set comprises a jumbled collection of cardboard boxes and beer crates. The show is described as being about “forgetting, forgiving, remembering, faking, making-up and doing.” As it progresses, we delight in meeting again his unforgettable characterisations of former State President PW Botha and politician Piet Koornhof as well as former President Jacob Zuma.

(Uys as the old man)

At one stage, the boxes represent the belongings of an old man who is having to move from his spacious home to two-rooms in an old age home. In this beautifully poignant section, Uys has a chance to focus on the SPCA, a charity which is very close to his heart, encouraging audiences to donate money or belongings that are no longer needed.

Another unforgettable section deals with his community work for the children of the township area surrounding Darling, exposing them to new experiences like ice-cream parlours, a movie house … and the sea!

Uys deals with many issues that are confronting communities at all levels in South Africa at the moment. It’s rapid fire delivery – you daren’t lose focus for a minute or you might miss a hilarious aside or sarcastic crack at a politician! Over the years, I believe the general public has learnt more about South Africa’s political scene through Uys and his no-holds-barred eye-openers than they have through the media.

Obviously, the audience eagerly awaits the appearance of the famous Evita Bezuidenhout and Uys does this transformation very cleverly. While putting on her make-up, he occasionally dons different wigs and we meet British Prime Minister, Theresa May; Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, along with Noelle Fine (a long-time Uys character), eventually triumphing as Evita, false eyelashes and all!

Evita has the last word as she urges people to fight the land reformation issues by searching into their own origins!

The show, which lasts for an hour and 20 minutes without interval, had sold-out seasons at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Studio and the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town – so don’t miss it here in KZN! Uys deserves all the support we can give him – not just for being an extraordinary performer but for being one with a huge heart.

When in Doubt, Say Darling has another performance tomorrow in the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at 15h00 and again from November 8 to 10 at 19h30 and on November 11 at 15h00. During the week, Uys moves up to the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg for performances on November 6 and 7. Booking is through Computicket. – Caroline Smart