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

D.O.F. (article first published : 2006-06-7)

Dressed in an overall with a scholarly pair of glasses, Aaron McIlroy welcomes us as a group of students to his lecture on forensics. He advises us that we have to crawl before we can rocket launch – and you’d better pay attention or risk being singled out from the rest of the audience! We are listening to Professor Joel Liebenberg, Chief Forensics Officer of The Department of Forensics, commonly known as D.O.F.!

This gives you some idea of the subject matter to come as this popular and highly versatile actor appears in his most entertaining production to date. Tightly-directed by Steven Stead, D.O.F. features Aaron in a new range of widely diverse characters.

The setting is a new prison complex – Susan Donaldson-Selby’s highly effective set with its metallic walls and bars dramatically lit by Michael Broderick – known as Diep Kak. As you can imagine, this provides more fodder for the ever-fertile and inventive McIlroy brain. The show goes on to introduce a number of prisoners in the complex.

The most impressive character was the Anthony Hopkins-styled highly articulate, artistic and effete Dr Norman Lectum who is always searching for alternative sources of protein! Then there’s local politician Connie Naaiman who gets his prepared speeches mixed up and Sean McDonald whose early home life was classified in a variety of terms ranging from “poor” to “needy” to “disadvantaged”. We were still poor but we had a good vocabulary”, he quips. No show would be complete without the “tiger in sheep’s clothing”, Veejay Moodley, who is still protesting his innocence while making an impassioned plea to his wife to visit him … and bring some food!

Spastic movements, legs flying in all directions, Aaron makes River Dance look like child’s play while, as the vertically-challenged Hispanic drug mule Pepe "Grande" Gonzales, he has to remain rooted to the spot (of necessity) but still commands the audience’s attention.

Aaron has developed his own unique sense of timing which works so well for him. In one song, he goes helter-skelter through a Jerry Springer send-up at a frightening rate (“17% faster than people can listen,” he quips). One false move (word) in the wrong place could bring the whole thing tumbling down. It’s a brilliant number and definitely the highlight of the show.

The science of forensics has captured the public’s attention and developed their fascination through television programmes such as BBC Prime’s Silent Witness and NCIS from the US.

D.O.F. rides on this popularity, interspersing the dialogue with hits by Super Tramp, Monty Python, Enrique Iglesias, Black Eyed Peas, Robbie Williams, Shaggy and Lou Read. Don’t miss it.

Presented by Macbob Productions, D.O.F. runs at the Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf until June 25. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (Sundays at 18h00). Tickets R70. Bookings on 031 305 6889. – Caroline Smart




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