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GROET DIE GROTMAN (article first published : 2006-09-28)

A historical hysterical journey indeed it was. The invasion by the Boers from every nook and cranny in the isiZulu province to the caveman's hunting ground: Groet die Grotman, Koos Kombuis' Afrikaans translation of Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman at Sibaya Casino.

An excellent RSG-introduction firmly placed the audience in high expectation mode. Dit is mos onse mense daardie (those people are like us) and when veteran actor, Hannes Muller, came on stage the audience was prepared for every possible swearword in the HAT (respected Afrikaans dictionary).

An excellent translation and adaptation of the original and highly successful one-man play, Groet die Grotman "works" as intended: A showcase money-spinner for the producers.

Muller's rich voice and versatile acting skills are explored to the fullest. It is not easy to capture the attention of an audience for over 90 minutes yet he succeeded brilliantly. The monotonous use of the stage did become a bit too much at times but I doubt that the average theatre-goer will be irritated by it, although the same circling movements in the same direction did make me a bit nauseous.

Muller's comical timing is superb. I have always been a keen follower of his work. Remember him in the TV series Meester? Unfortunately, I can be overly passionate about my home-language and also get overly frustrated by the alienating influence of the Coka-Cola culture. Groet Die Grotman is exactly that - a good outing to the Spur Restaurant for something safe and un-daring. A fan of Koos Kombuis, I think our Afrikaans writers can achieve so much more and need not piggy-back on others due to our own insecurities. Kombuis' creativity was rather hindered by translating this popular work.

Be it as it may, Groet Die Grotman is - as is the original work - a must see for every married or soon-to-be-married couple. It deals with the hilarious differences between men and women. It is highly recommended in a province where the vast number of Afrikaans speakers donít often get the opportunity to be entertained in their own language - and the support the play is receiving clearly paves the way for similar work to tour to the Last Outpost.

Groet die Grotman runs at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom's iZulu Theatre until October 8. Bookings through Computicket. - Luke Thomas




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