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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH (article first published : 2006-09-4)

Welcome to the 77½ Annual Awards from the Goslak Theatre. This is the opening of the latest effort of Clinton Marius, written and performed by him and a worthy successor to his two previous productions, Uncut - The Penis Monologues and Guru. Clinton Marius as Paris Hilton (pronounced Parys Houghton) replete with pet dog steps onto a beautifully designed set, worthy of an Academy Award ceremony. The decor even extends to life-sized Tony Award statues in the foyer of the Loft Theatre - a very nice clever touch. The topical cracks flow fast and furious. He has a very shrewd eye for the sham of "thank you" speeches which is exhibited in his imaginative script.

This is an outrageous send-up of Hollywood and the cult of the celebrity. Parodies of several famous songs and people abound. I particularly liked the very clever All I want is a Tomb Somewhere from the film award contender Pram Poker's Dim Slackula (All I Want is a Room Somewhere from My Fair Lady and Bram Stoker's Dracula for the uninitiated).

Famous names who are satirised include George Michael, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Turner, Ruby Wax, Angelina Jolie, some on stage, for example Colin Farrell (who is interviewed), Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres (with a brilliant rewording of the song Fever) and Cher (a grand finale appearance by Clinton Marius in a stunning outfit), and others are portrayed in film clips, but all are performed by Clinton Marius.

These multimedia film clips were produced in collaboration with the Durban University of Technology’s Department of Video Technology under the direction of Iain Cassells and they deserve special mention. They are excellently produced and their quality is superb. "No expense has been spared", to use a well worn cliché, in assembling a large cast for these. Stand-up comedian Eubulus Tracy heads a line-up of guest appearances in the video films. Also making delightful appearances are Caroline Smart, William Charlton Perkins, Peter Gardner and many others.

There is also a clever play on words in the names of the stars portrayed, e.g. Helle Berry, Dom Thanks, Silly Fooled, Kate Bakingsale, Jolly Angeline, Nickle Skidbin, Billary Swank, Callen Squirrel (the interview mentioned), Queen Fatifah, Tinna Tuna, Ganet Palfrey, Bit Muddler, Imram Vulgar, Buby Sax (brought "live" in a film clip from the red carpet outside the Goslak Theatre) and the Parys Houghton mentioned above. Also included is a film clip of new material on Guru Sunshine from his previous show. The endless credits in films are even parodied by the roll-on of credits in the final film clip, another clever touch, although it doesn’t detract from all who assisted in the production.

The current obsession with stardom, the silver screen and the awards the rich and famous heap upon themselves are subjects of laughter in this adults-only satire. While there is no strong language, nudity or violence, there are many sexual innuendos so don't bring your sensitive maiden aunt! It is, however, a clever show with many laughs, directed by Caroline Smart and presented by Copy Dog in association with the Playhouse Company.

Caroline Smart’s hand is again evident in the tight, disciplined directing of the show which runs from September 2 to 17 in the Playhouse Loft. Booking is at Computicket. – Maurice Kort




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