ArtSpoken & Reviews

Evita and the Kaktus of Separate Development

Leon van Nierop
05/26/2017 11:50:47

Leon van Nierop: Just when you thought that Pieter-Dirk Uys couldn’t get funnier or more topical, or even sharper, along comes this.

The show, perhaps one of his most illustrious and finest productions, starts harmlessly enough with a bewildered Mrs Bezuidenhout trying to get Gwede Mantashe on the phone, (he ran out of airtime!) demanding to know why the stage has not been set and the deliveries made for her appearance tonight. Her asides and throw-away lines are precious and extremely funny. This is where her strength lies. In the jokes she throws away!

With Evita’s typical sly, acerbic wit, Uys uses his alter ego to poke fun at incompetence in government, non-delivery of services and the general state of semi chaos currently prevailing in the country. Best of all: he still succeeds in making us laugh at the state our city and country are in, although it feels as if you are smiling through razor blades.

But the biggest surprise comes in the second half of the show when a radiant Evita on a handsomely made-up stage tackles a few holy cows (from which she makes splendid comedic hamburgers) and other unlucky personalities are lashed by her sharp tongue. But Uys’s success also lies in the fact that he takes out the whip on all of us, no matter what your culture, skin colour, religious beliefs, language, or political views. Nobody is spared the rod and you catch yourself laughing out loud, getting a fistful of wit aimed at you particularly, knocking you out flat, and then continuing as if nothing has happened.

If anything, Uys teaches us to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously.

This is perhaps one of his most brilliant evocations of Evita Bezuidenhout’s view of our country and of the world in general. At a time like this we need (and deserve!) to laugh not only at her, but also at ourselves.

The stage design is beautiful, Uys’s improvisational skills are remarkable (as his banter with those who don’t understand Afrikaans in die audience proved) and his humour is priceless. This is an absolute treasure. If you are an Evita groupie like I am, get yourselves over to Montecasino. The show is brilliant!

Evita Bezuidenhout and the Kaktus of Separate Development ****
Starring Pieter-Dirk Uys
At Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre until June 11.

Leon van Nierop is one of South Africa's best-known and most respected film critics. He has reviewed films for 34 years for every medium; from television and radio to magazines, newspapers and the Internet. He has lectured on film criticism for 14 years throughout the country and headed the TUT film school in Pretoria for 4 years. He has also written two books on film analysis, the most recent being Movies Made Easy published by van Schaiks. He has also served as judge for several short film and film competitions, is part of the SAFTA jury awarding Golden Horns to the best local film talent, and writes extensively on film for several publications. He also served as professor in film at TUT and also headed that film school for 4 years. He has just completed a stint as presenter, scriptwriter, voice-over artist and co-producer for DEKAT on SABC 3. He has written 23 novels and several TV series and dramas and is currently working on another novel. He is also a newsreader and continuity presenter for RSG on SABC radio and serves as their major film critic.
Related Venue:
Montecasino Complex, Fourways Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa