A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DEFENDING THE CAVEWOMAN (article first published : 2005-09-1)

Written and directed by Emma Peirson and performed by Vanessa Frost, Defending the Cavewoman is currently running at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom. It is a direct send-up from a female’s point of view of Tim Plewman’s hilarious smash-hit Defending the Caveman which moves into this venue towards the end of September.

This is a sensible move as I do not think Defending the Cavewoman would have fared as well were it to have been the other way round. The combination of actor Tim Plewman and writer Rob Becker is a tough act to follow.

Vanessa came up with the idea for the play when she was in her Honours year at The South African School of Film, Television and Dramatic Art in Johannesburg. She asked Emma to write and direct it as her final-year project. Several years on, they have had much success with the show, having played it around South Africa to much acclaim.

I revisited my review written in September 2002 when Vanessa performed this demanding one-woman show at the Barnyard Theatre at Gateway when I described it as “stand-up comedy with furniture”. The furniture is different now. From the former chaise longue, she has a gigantic armchair and footstool covered in pseudo Nguni-hide. There are bright flowers dotted about and green carpeting to assist the imagery of the Garden of Eden where Eve has several conversations with God who, in this case, is a woman’s voice with a platteland accent, attended by a camp Gabriel with the Hallelujah Chorus used for “on-hold” music.

There is much humour on the show – not only on its own account but also in very funny send-ups of Defending the Caveman! We meet Vanessa on her wedding night where she is having last-minute doubts. She bemoans the fact that she’s been “on diet since she’s been in the womb and feels like a “marshmallow queen” in her wedding dress which doesn’t look anything like it looked on the “anorexic toothpick” who modelled it in the bridal shop.

If the way this articulate and highly observant character depicts her fiancé as a fairly moronic slob is a true reflection of their relationship, those last-minute doubts should be taken as screaming alarm signals. The audience wants to shout “Get out now, while you’ve still got your sanity!” Vanessa plays a number of characters but invariably these are too grotesque and would be better toned down. With that and a speeded-up delivery, the show would rattle along with the humour sparking out far more effectively.

Sadly, the show is still pedantic and played “to the gallery” too much. It’s not necessary, the iZulu Theatre is a beautiful venue and even those sitting at the back don’t feel too remotely distanced from the stage.

I did have a big problem with the lighting states which had the short little reminiscence scenes almost played in semi-darkness, thus losing sight of Vanessa’s expressive face.

Those of a sensitive nature should be warned that the dialogue and actions are fairly explicit and covers subjects from tampons and sex toys to relationships, insecurity and PMS … and farts! Tonight’s audience responded with much laughter – much of it very knowing as they recognised situations in their own lives!

The show which lasts for over an hour without interval, runs until September 10, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00. Tickets R75 through Computicket or the Sibaya Box-Office on 031 580 5555. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart