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THE STAND-UP (article first published : 2005-04-3)

Aaron McIlroy is presenting his latest one-man show, The Stand-Up, at Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf. Co-written and directed by Susan Monteregge, it follows his previous solo appearances such as The Loser and Mr Personality.

Some of his much-loved and favourite audience characters again make an appearance in this satirical send-up of the stand-up comedy genre.

The setting is fast-talking roguish Vijay Moodley’s glitzy new comedy club to which he has invited a wild-haired Scotsman, a nerdish Bruce look-alike and the manic Nigel Bjorn van Rensburg (love child of Abba member and an alien!) who believes that the aliens are taking over the earth.

He also plays a hapless audience member who has been chosen by the club management to have a free stand-up appearance. This is a cleverly drawn character who is basically incoherent and an appalling comic, disintegrating into giggles when his jokes evoke laughs.

A welcome new character was introduced in elegant evening dress and wearing shades and a silver grey wig. With his Robert de Niro styled accent, he gave us a great rendering of Minnie the Moocher. I hope we see more of him in the future – perhaps he could be developed into having his own show!

From the outset, Aaron generates hoots of laughter and he’s always got a smart response for wisecracks from audience members. He’s also an excellent singer and we do get a chance to hear a few numbers only slightly infused with chaotic stage business.

As the publicity material states, the hilarious script deals with the “why’s, wherefore’s and where-with-all’s that make up the fabric of stage comedy”. On the delicate business of comedy timing, Vijay reminds wannabee standup comics: “Don’t go rushing towards the punch line.”

Last year Aaron won the Durban Theatre Award for Performance in Musical/Revue for Defending the Planet and at the Fools Awards ceremony two days ago (April 1), he garnered a Charisma Award for public response to his work and the Script award for the same production which he co-wrote with Sue Monteregge.

As Catalina Theatre director Themi Venturas rightly described him, Aaron is a “class act”. However, I think it is time he moved on from incorporating his standard characters into new productions. While they represent good box office and Aaron has a family to support, he is in danger of stagnating and that would be a professional disaster.

Don’t let this put you off going to The Stand-Up, though, it’s a hilarious evening’s entertainment.

Performances of The Stand-Up Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (Sundays at 20h00). Tickets R65 (Block booking discounts: R60 per ticket for groups of 20 or more/R55 per ticket for groups of 100 or more). Aaron’s shows are always extremely popular so early booking is strongly advised on 031 305 6889 or 082 335 6088. – Caroline Smart




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