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UNDERDOG TO GRAHAMSTOWN (article first published : 2000-06-29)

The two-year old theatre production company Underdog Productions comprises Ben Voss, John van de Ruit and Tamar Meskin and was set up to facilitate the producing and marketing of commercially viable stage productions. Committed to quality theatre that is marketable and fun, Underdog Productions has produced three plays to date: The Final Cut (1998), War Cry (1999) and their latest addition Foul Play (2000).

The Final Cut and Foul Play will appear on the fringe of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the former for the first time running. The latter will premiere at the festival.

Co- written by John van de Ruit, Ben Voss and Tamar Meskin, The Final Cut has proved a success from the start achieving sell-out performances when it premiered in Grahamstown in 1998. Since then, it has toured South Africa extensively and played to over 40 000 people. The hilarious show features van de Ruit and Voss as two cricket enthusiasts who meet up at Kingsmead Cricket Ground at a one-day international between the old rivals South Africa and Australia. The pair are as diametrically opposed in character as they are in team support.

Foul Play changes the playing field from cricket pitch to rugby stadium. Another comedy, it deals with the trials and tribulations of brothers Naas and Larry Skinner who discover they are heirs to their grandmotherís English estate. The only catch is, they have three days in which to get to England and claim it. Stony broke, they locals brew up an outlandish plan to hustle the necessary R10,000 from an unsuspecting spectator at Kings Park during a thrilling test match between the All Blacks and the Springboks. Their target turns out to be a seemingly sweet and naÔve American tourist at her first ever rugby match who suddenly becomes too hot to handle.

The show already looks set to be on the fringe of the Hilton Arts Festival in September 2000 and is to embark on a nationwide tour before the end of the year.




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