For fans of Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola, a live stand-up performance from this natural entertainer is a must. From the moment his lanky-but-towering presence strutted on stage to an old school hip hop track, he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
The title of his new show implies a political bias but in fact Gola focuses mainly on personal stories, injecting political references in unexpected ways. The manner in which beetroot spreads its colour to everything else on the plate, for example, is likened – of all things – to Julius Malema. With a few comments on current affairs and some flawless impersonations of our rainbow nation (watch him doing a hilarious Coloured accent here) the show is certainly a success in terms of material. Add in some great facial expressions, a relaxed character and spot-on comic timing, and you are in for a treat.
Gola interacts with the audience so naturally that even the most outspoken hecklers are put in their place. When one outspoken young fan refused to respond to his more subtle put downs Gola requested the house lights could be turned on so he could deal with this distraction face-to-face. After giving her his full attention he explained the idea of decorum to her. Typically Gola was able to make this whole situation comical, adding to the uniqueness of the live performance.
The only awkwardness came at the end of the show with an overly heartfelt speech that was met with a rather silent response from an audience who – though perhaps touched – really only wanted to be entertained. When he then asked if there were any questions the young woman from earlier leapt back into the spotlight, to a collective groan.
But apart from these few minutes at the end of the show, Loyiso Gola proved that his star is very much still in the ascendant. Described by Podium as having “one of the most daring comedy minds this country has ever seen”, it is perhaps not surprising that Gola’s State of The Nation Address is infinitely more entertaining than the original.
Loysio Gola’s State of The Nation Address runs at the Baxter Theatre until 16 August.