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CERTIFIED MALE (article first published : 2002-01-10)

Normally it’s not artSMart’s policy to review productions outside KZN, but I believe that Certified Male deserves the exception.

Presented by Pieter Toerien and Art Cackle & Hoot Entertainment - which should give you a clue as to the focus on humour - it has been running at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre since mid November. The response has been such that the season has now been extended to January 26 after which it heads for the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town where it will open on January 30.

Finely directed by Tim (is there no end to the return of Caveman?) Plewman, the cast includes the considerable comedic talents of Tobie Cronje, Graham Clarke, Gideon Emery and Carl Beukes with the eternally young Paul Ditchfield at the piano.

I don’t think I have laughed out loud so much in an audience for a very long time. The script by Australians Scott Rankin and Glynn Nicholas is little short of brilliant. Throw in the combined acting power of the cast mixed with some brilliant mime instruction by James Cunningham and the result is a highly entertaining and enjoyable show.

Briefly, it’s the story of a high-powered business magnate (Tobie Cronje) who decides to take three of his top executives to a lush and tropical island to “bond” and engage in “team building”. The very different executives (Graham Clarke, Gideon Emery and Carl Beukes) all have their own personal problems, particularly with women. After a while, they begin to suspect that they have been transported to foreign soil for a purpose other than team building:

As an overall viewpoint, teamwork is a good adjective here in the sense that it is difficult to single out any one performer above the others. Working collectively and independently they keep the various moods flowing at a fairly hectic pace.

Running parallel to the storyline is a narrative told by the magnate of a shipwreck about a raft full of survivors. Towards the end this becomes brought into the main field of action but the abrupt transition didn’t quite work for me, lacking as it did the well-oiled mood changes experienced up to that point.

That aside, Certified Male is a delight and if the rest of the theatre fare this year is anything like as good, then we’re in for a great 2002!

Book at the theatre or Computicket. Block bookings on 011 511-1988. More details contact e-mail: montetheatre@artslink.co.za




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