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

DEFENDING THE LAID MAN (article first published : 2006-10-7)

After being bedridden for days with a terrible flu, it was with extreme scepticism that I dragged my aching body to the Catalina Theatre to watch yet another attempt at the ďDefending the...." title. Typical Durbanite, I crossed my arms and legs, sat back and thought: "Now, Mr Newton, entertain me - if you can!"

The inaudible soundtrack welcoming the audience got me to drop my head as well and I was surely not going to open up. After all, has everything about relationships not been said by now?

Then, a short-ish well groomed Newton walks on stage and rewrites the recipe for stand-up comedy. He wooed his audience and, without ever embarrassing anyone, tackles the most taboo subject on stage with amazing openness. Where the original Defending The Caveman and its copycats dealt with male/female and other relationships, Defending The Laid Man goes straight down (!) on the sexual interaction between the sexes.

Drinking water from a beer bottle, swearing like they all do yet never once leaving a bad taste in the mouth. He didnít use exclamatory swear words for the sake of, he didnít shout into his microphone, he didnít spray spit all over the audience or ridicule audience members. He simply entertained and had the audience in stitches.

Subject matter of this nature certainly can easily be offensive, but not in the hands of Newton. Naming and describing the most private parts of the male and female anatomy should ordinarily raise eyebrows, yet, not if done with superb theatrical artfulness - and yes, raw stand-up can have finesse! Newton is a master at this. He is perfectly at ease with his work and presents it with accurate comedy timing and skill. Newton doesnít only rely on his script, he is a truly talented performer. The result: an audience that relaxed and simply could not get enough.

What Dr Phil and Oprah can not achieve, Defending The Laid Man does: a healthy, open, extremely funny and wonderfully accurate reflection of the realities of sex. Not for the faint-hearted? Well, maybe if you live a celibate life.

Do not miss "Defending The Laid Man at any cost. Running at the Catalina Theatre until October 15.

(Note to the self: when not feeling well, take a good dose of laughter brilliantly mixed by David Newton and you will feel on top of the world in no time).- Luke Thomas




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