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MEN’S NIGHT – EXTRA PIECE (article first published : 2001-11-28)

Men’s Night already reviewed on artSMart during its season in Grahamstown (see http://www.artsmart.co.za/drama/archive/363.html) has had equally successful runs in Cape Town and at the Natal Witness Hilton Arts Festival.

Currently running at the University of Natal Durban’s Square Space Theatre until December 22, Men’s Night is a must-see. It is a collaboration of two of the most towering talents KZN has produced: Ben Voss (The Final Cut and Seeing Red), who wrote and appears in the play, and Greig Coetzee (White Men with Weapons and Breasts) who is the director.

Ben Voss, who holds this year’s FNB Vita Durban award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Twelfth Night, poses the question: When are South African men truly men? In a series of short sketches he portrays schoolboys, a spaced-out drummer, a swimming instructor, a daisy-carrying nerd, a trigger-happy divorcé, a 21-year old with a predilection for abusive sex and a befuddled home mechanic.

The original review covers the show as it was presented in Grahamstown. But at the time, there was a strong opinion that the production needed to end on a different note. While being hard-hitting and dramatic, the final piece was of a highly sensitive nature and audiences needed time to reflect on it.

The newly-added sketch is a delight. Extremely clever and well-constructed, it allows audiences to reach the parallel in their own time. Those that pick up the analogy early on will enjoy the action on all levels while others will appreciate the piece for its own intrinsic humorous value.

I won’t reveal the process. Suffice it to say that it deals with screwdrivers, a high-tech 4 x 4 vehicle, aubergine and sun-dried tomato pâté and a man who finds himself befuddled by the new order of things mechanical and sexual.

Shows are nightly at 19h30 from Tuesday until Saturday and 18h30 on Sundays. Tickets R35 (R25 for pensioners and students on Tuesdays). Block booking discounts are available. Book through Computicket on 011 340-8000 or 083 915-8000. Or phone Ben Voss direct on 083 555-1885.

Just a mention – the show does include explicit sexual language and some sections might be considered offensive. - Caroline Smart




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