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DEFENDING THE CAVEBRATS (article first published : 2005-05-12)

In his third presentation of Defending the Cavebrats - the two previous seasons having been held in 2003 in the Playhouse Drama and later at the Catalina Theatre – award-winning actor, director and scriptwriter Aldo Brincat takes his amusing and entertaining show to the splendour of the Royal Hotel’s Grillroom.

I was in two minds as to whether a straight dramatic work would be effective in this venue which has only hosted music reviews to date. Although the one-man show is played to black drapes and the stage is absolutely bare, it does work. I would have liked a few pieces of furniture – perhaps a chaise-longue or an armchair or the usual ubiquitous barstool – just to break the starkness and provide some visual focus but Aldo holds his own with nothing other than his self and the clothes he is wearing.

Directed by well-known multi award-winning stage, film and television personality, Ian Roberts, Defending the Cavebrats has considerably improved and tightened since its first airing in February 2003. I make no apologies in quoting from my original review as most of the remarks still stand.

“Aldo produces a series of clearly defined characters and accents, following the path of a young married couple. They are comfortable in being a twosome and enjoying a certain self-gratifying standard of living until one day the woman decides that her biological clock is running out and it is time to have children. Needless to say, this announcement is not greeted with gales of delight from her husband who sees such an action as a destructive threat to the beautiful body of his wife, not to mention the fact that he’ll never get his dream car!

“The text is delightful with Aldo’s unique and offbeat sense of humour to the fore, such as his description of a small child as a “live Willards Kniknak”. Wandering from cramped SMS thumbs to the weird names given to only children, he maintains that babies should not be seen by friends or associates for at least two and a half years. During that time all one needs is a toilet and a fridge as the infant does nothing but “cry and poop”!”

There are some enchanting moments: Aldo’s “self-introduction” to his unborn child; his wry humour where he describes the wooing of his loved one and how it took months of practice to casually present a rose, or his comparison of the birth process to pushing a grand piano through a cat flap!

If you are among the audience members still deciding whether to have children, by interval you would have decided to adopt at least 10 pets instead. But after the final moment, when the baby becomes a reality, I predict that you will have done a complete about-turn!

Tickets R160 include a three-course meal (including the Royal Garage parking fee!) from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Apart from enjoying my own dinner, I sampled different dishes from my table companions, so I can recommend each of the items on the menu. These include Act 1 starters, Creamy Seafood Thermidor crepe or Roasted Butternut and Feta Salad. Act 2 is a creamy and delicious Leek & Potato Soup. Act 3 main course offers a choice of Lamb Shank Pie or Chicken Mozzarella or Roasted Vegetables. The Finale is decadence itself – a wide choice of delectable desserts as only the Royal can present.

A excellently scripted and performed show. Fine food in sensibly-sized and attractively-presented portions. Efficient service. All in all, it was a highly enjoyable evening and well worth the ticket price.

Defending the Cavebrats runs until May 28. Supper is served from 19h00 with the show starting around 20h30. To book phone The Royal Hotel on 031 333 6000 or book at Computicket on 083 915 8000 or 011 304 8000. – Caroline Smart




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