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IT'S THE BANK'S FAULT! (article first published : 2007-03-1)

Originally based in Cape Town and now living in Johannesburg, Mark Banks has been a regular on the Durban theatre scene for almost as long as I can remember. He is one of South Africa’s hardest-working and most observant performers of stand-up and satire – along with blazing top guns like Pieter-Dirk Uys and the late Robert Kirby who provide the leaders of government with in-your-face biting comment. They, along with many other stand-ups, are the country’s conscience – holding up the mirror into which those in power should look … or avoid at their peril!

Back in KZN again, this time making his first appearance at the popular Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest, Mark presents his latest comedy onslaught with It's The Bank's Fault!. It’s got very little to do with banking houses as such, unless of course you happen to be a banker in the firing line (the front row). In which case, be prepared … be very prepared!

For an intensive two-act performance, Mark Banks had his audience in stitches from the very opening of the show. This comprises an amusing voice-over followed by the tuning up of a full orchestra which launches into a grandiose piece that would do a world class musical proud!

From then on, it’s anyone’s guess where his perceptively mischievous mind will take him. Tonight we galloped through subjects as wide-ranging as the harbour, brand name supermarkets, geriatrics, performing dolphins, porn films on Betamax, the Formula A1, legless flamingos, fashionable clog shoes and toilet paper – Are you a folder or a scruncher?

As this is the first time he has performed on such a scale in the Hillcrest area, he was able to poke fun at the social structure of the surroundings, much to the delight of his audience! Gekkos came under scrutiny for their loose bowel movements and mating behaviour! The Millennium Tower, the signal station for Durban harbour on the Bluff, didn’t escape and neither did the Minister of Health and her much-vaunted cure for AIDS, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Nkosazana Zuma and Shabir Shaikh.

He proudly announces that he’s cleaned up his act, which will undoubtedly attract him new fans, and appoints a hapless audience member to be the monitor of the “F” word. He promises that if he utters it, he’ll buy the audience a round of drinks! This puts the entire audience on alert!

If you want some clever and razor-sharp humour delivered with infectiously puckish delight, then head for the Heritage Theatre – it’s worth the drive out of town and back.

It's The Bank's Fault! runs until April 15 at 20h30 from Tuesday to Saturday (Sundays at 14h00). Tickets R175 (R150 Tuesday nights and Sunday lunch) include the show and a two-course meal with optional desserts.

We chose two enjoyable items on the starter menu – Crępes Bolognaise and a delectable creamy Mushroom Terrine, the other option being Tomato Gazpacho. The main course offers the Heritage’s popular Braised Lamb Shank and the vegetarian Roasted Vegetables dish. We opted for Dorado Fillet and Chicken Schnitzel, both appetising and attractively served.

Bookings through the Heritage Theatre on 031 765 4197. – Caroline Smart




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