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Thursday, September 19, 2019


(Daniel Mpilo Richards)

If you have been out of South African for a while, this is a clever history of where we are today. (Review by Caroline Smart)

I was so hugely impressed when I first saw Daniel Mpilo Richards in Mike van Graan’s Pay Back the Curry, with original direction by Rob van Vuuren, at the Hilton Arts Festival in 2016 that he has been the top of my booking list ever since.

Richards has won two Naledi Theatre Awards and a Standard Bank Ovation Award and this year he took a break from his film studies in Britain to perform at the 2019 Festival in a show titled Quantitative Teasing. It was a delight to enjoy once again sketches from State Fracture and Land Acts.

We revisit Derek Hanekom, the tour guide from Rainbow Nation Tours whose job it is to encourage the visitors to South Africa to invest in the country. He promises they can even see the leopard at Nkandla. The process is hilarious as he answers questions from the group. He proudly notes that the Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town is the only car that hasn’t been hijacked. He explains that they will be accompanied by the police and another security group – whose job is to look after the police!

Richards is disarming and fast-talking. He is extremely versatile, a good mover and has an excellent command of accents. One highly amusing number sees him taking Old MacDonald Has a Farm and singing it a la former Prime Minister John Vorster, the late Nelson Mandela as well as Cyril Ramaphosa.

Another fun number is immediately recognisable as soon as he assumes a chicken posture. He’s a chicken activist and energetically promoting chicken rights.

Accompanying himself on the guitar, he changes Hallelujah to Hello, Looters! He also sends up the word “privilege” and pulls it apart letter by letter. The section dealing with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in the Cape Flats is hilarious. He plays three people – a black Romeo, a Cape Coloured Juliet and a white director.

Another section sees him as an Aborigine believing that the Australian government can help the genocide situation by assisting black South Africans to relocate to Australia!

A special message to men urging them to live life in peace with Imagine All the People was beautifully handled.

If you have been out of South African for a while, this is a clever history of where we are today. If you haven’t moved out of the country, you’ll appreciate the cleverness of Quantitative Teasing even more! – Caroline Smart

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