Marc Lottering has big letters on stage to remind us he is big – “one of the three famous coloured people in Cape Town” in fact. He is not just the uncool guy at school or a comedian people don’t have to wear black to come and see; he is not just an enormously empathic clown with a slight, elegantly expressive body and big hair; no, Lottering is so much more. He is vibey, jumpy, in tune with what we want, pouring house music at us before the show starts and treating us to that irreverent 400 million-hit Korean song, when we leave. He is hot, and he makes us be hot with him, fizzing with energy in his emerald green Klopse-style satin suit, reminding us of the agony of being a small child or an embarrassed ATM user, reassuring us he won’t pick on us during the show, sensitive to all our einas.
We want to be able to come to the theatre and spend an evening laughing until our face hurts; we want to be bowled over by his popcorn-and-leopardskin stage lighting and his shiny suit; we want to check out the white people or the brown people and what they think is funny. By coming to this show you can get what you want. Some people are wearing long dreads and long shorts. Some have balding heads and some have shaven heads. Some are even wearing David Kramer’s hat… oh no, that was just David Kramer. In this show nobody feels ashamed to laugh out loud at Galatia Geduld, Auntie Desree or even Shrien Dewani’s secret techniques to coping with Pollsmoor Prison.
Lottering moves effortlessly from one South African highlight (Chad le Clos – with a ‘silent s’ – in the Olympics) to the next, without any signposts or stops to let us recover from the last laugh. His humanity and sympathy don’t emerge as anger at injustice, but as the funniest private details which we hope no-one has guessed about us. So he can mock JZ, Julius Malema, Helen Zille and Come Dine with Me in Bonteheuwel without any acid comments, just sly twists of the knife of observation. He shows off his masterly mimicry of Joanne Strauss in her Lux bath, Whitney Houston with her trembling lip, and himself at home with his newspaper, balancing too much wine with lots of ice. We get to celebrate his funniness with laughs, and he encourages us to celebrate ourselves too; we are people who can understand jokes in two interwoven languages, laugh about fraud that has cost the nation a small fortune, and trust our president to have enough of an ego to avoid being associated with fish and chips, which might wreck his dignity. (And here there is a silent question mark, inspired by the silent ‘s’.)
A hugely entertaining holiday treat, Marc Lottering’s show is a must-see this season. He is a consummate showman, and his compassionate yowling and fancy footwork will release all the laughs you’ve been saving since your lost silly youth.
by Pauline de Villiers
Marc Lottering’s ‘I Don’t Work on Sundays’ runs until 5 January 2013 at the Baxter Concert Hall