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Thursday, March 25, 2021


(Pics by Val Adamson)

Both performers are at the top of their field: energy (Aaron could drive a power station and Lisa’s not far behind!); excellent command of characterisation and accents; good movement skills, singing voices and a monumental capacity for humour. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert are a formidable pair – refusing to let lockdown hinder their desire to perform and provide shows that allow audiences to laugh and forget their troubles for a short time.

Family Therapy, running at the intimate Seabrookes Theatre at DHS played to a highly appreciative audience last night and, knowing the production well, I was able to take in their responses as well as those of my two companions.

Ismail Mahomed commented on his Facebook page today:

If you are in Durban catch Lisa Bobbert McIlroy and Aaron McIlroy’s production. “Family Therapy”. It’s an hour of fast-paced humour and music that brings home some really crazy family characters. After a 12 month lockdown this show will put a smile on your dial even if you are a stone-faced grey rock.

The stone-faced grey rock is a reference on how to deal with annoying people, accusations, provocation or criticism. The story-line deals with a couple – the bossy Charmaine and her dof husband Bruce – who are running a family therapy session to help people deal with this problem.

We get to meet their daughter Cher who is permanently locked to her cellphone, Instagram and any other social media she can get her hands on – including managing to copy her father’s bank account details. There’s dishevelled Gary from the Bluff accompanied by his guitar who makes slops from tyres and gives his version of Living Next Door to Alice.

No MacBob production would be complete without the huge favourite, the fast-talking highly audience-interactive Vijay Moodley, who now appears to have been promoted to Dr Moodley, probably for the matters under discussion.

McIlroy is a past master at juggling audience comments, sending back retorts at speed, much to the audience’s delight.

To me, the best scene was the final one where Bobbert and McIlroy play an ageing couple looking back on their lives. There was a beautiful poignancy with this one.

Family Therapy was written for their production of it at Tina’s Hotel in December 2019. In March they formed the last show at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre before lockdown last year – in fact the night of the President’s speech was their last performance there.

They went on to film the show for the Virtual National Arts Festival in June 29, 2020. Other appearances have been at the Cape Town Drama Factory and the Northlands Bowling Club.

Barry Meehan reviewed Family Therapy for artSMart in December 13, 2019:

“Family Therapy is a laugh-a-minute, two-hour romp from this supremely talented twosome, and is – in my humble opinion – their best show to date. … Altogether, this is a hugely entertaining show, with impeccable comedy timing from the manic pair, and is well worth seeing.”

Kerryn Nico reviewed the show for artSMart when it ran at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in March 2020:

Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert are at it again with this hysterical look at families, what makes them tick and why so many of them need therapy. This musical comedy is directed and choreographed by Daisy Spencer and guarantees audiences a really good laugh, a number of sing-a-long songs and a couple of hours with no mention of the Corona Virus! Who could ask for more? They say laughter is the best medicine so do yourself a favour, go and see Family Therapy, it is therapeutic!

Going through the artSMart coverage of the show, I was again pulled into their delicious world of humorous nonsense but there are always some serious message behind most of the shows, if you want to look for them.

In July 2019, the McIlroy’s house was completely destroyed by fire and they lost all their possessions. At the back of the set, there’s a table with pictures from Aaron and Lisa’s home – one of them of their baby daughter who was tragically killed in a car accident. These are all photographs that friends have given them.

Both performers are at the top of their field: energy (Aaron could drive a power station and Lisa’s not far behind!); excellent command of characterisation and accents; good movement skills, singing voices and a monumental capacity for humour.

The show has been pruned down for lockdown and runs for just over an hour without an interval. Suggested age recommendation of 10 years plus. Evening performances of Family Therapy at Seabrooke’s are at 19h30 (Wednesdays to Saturdays), with 15h00 matinee performance on Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, and Saturday and Sunday, April 3 and 4. Tickets R180 (students & pensioners R160).

Family Therapy runs until April 4, 2021. Seabrooke’s Theatre is situated on the Durban High School campus at 255 St Thomas Road in Musgrave. Bookings at Webtickets. – Caroline Smart