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CATCH (article first published : 2008-07-17)

Catch is a one-man comedy musical show presented on the 2008 National Arts Festival’s Fringe programme by Durban’s innovative Neon Anthems in the form of the story of Felix and Freddie. It is written and performed by Jacobus van Heerden and directed by Liam Magner (who both make up Neon Anthems).

Felix leaves home to become a musician and surf in Knysna, he is determined to make something of himself. He meets Freddie, who is an orphan living with his grandmother and is being bullied by others. Felix teaches Freddie skills to beat his oppressors and build his confidence.

They go out on a boat and find a powdery substance, which turns out to be cocaine. The drug lord finds out and demands his money for the cocaine. Felix and Freddie decide to enter a fishing competition to raise the money. They hook a legendary fish that pulls them out to sea, eventually the fish jumps into the boat with Freddie’s help. They win the competition, pay back the drug lord and split the remaining cash to fulfil their dreams. The drug lord is arrested by the police.

Jacobus van Heerden did an excellent job of communicating the story of Felix and Freddie to the audience, with simplistic props in two boxes. There was use of innovative neon puppets and well sung music also playing guitar. With subtle costume changes, he effectively slipped from one character into the next.

With black costume, and a bare stage except for two boxes with props, van Heerden’s physicality and rich vocal quality carried the play through successfully.

My favourite character was the granny during which van Heerden physically and vocally morphed into someone else entirely…very well done and worth watching. – Shika Budhoo




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