From six short plays by Christopher Durang, Katey Carson has created a seamless production in which the plays change and break the reality without stopping the performance. Each scenery change is a clever story in itself; I almost found myself more enveloped in those than in the plays themselves.
Stagehands Mark Sykes and Sipumziwe Lucwaba steal the show by overacting, underacting and seemingly not acting to support flawlessly emotional, hilarious, witty and clever scenery changes between each new play. Dress in stage blacks, they switch on the wall lights and take us into their backstage and onstage lives.
Durang’s plays touch on local issues and relevant historical events without being too heavy. ‘DMV Tyrant’ opens the production. There are lights on a desk, an outdated computer, a chair, a book, an old telephone and a sign that reads ‘Traffic Department’, which has the audience laughing before the play has even started.
For ‘Funeral Parlour’ the desk and drawers from the previous play become a casket, topped with flowers and a black cloth. Brilliant and cringeworthy, ‘Funeral Parlour’ is also hilariously awkward and momentarily sad.
‘The Book of Leviticus Show’ reveals a small motel bedroom where a woman and her fiancé are filming a biblical series. Hilarious and horrifying as it is, the play punches you hard in the gut as you realise how it mocks the world and the people in it.
Each actor in the cast plays multiple roles, treating audience members to a true show of talent. As South Africans it is important for us to be able to appreciate theatre that is pure, easy entertainment – a laugh for laughter’s sake. The characters are quirky and loveable, raving mad, mentally challenged, scarily devoted to the bible, gay, lesbian, happy, lonely, sad and silly.
Funerals, Kidnappings, Swizzle Sticks and Other Distractions is a fun 80 minutes of carefree entertainment in the elegant setting of the Galloway Theatre. Grab a friend, a lover or family member to join you, but remember: no under 18s.
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Funerals, Kidnappings, Swizzle Sticks and Other Distractions is running at The Galloway Theatre from 5 November to 6 December 2015