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ARNEY'S OUTRAGEOUS RISE (article first published : 2002-06-3)

Arney's Outrageous Rise, is a new production of Aldo Brincatís hit comedy. Directed by Greg King, it is set for a run in Durban at Natal University's Square Space Theatre from May 31 to June 16.

"I enjoyed touring this production around Southern Africa. Looking back on it I was amazed to find the show only played in Durban for a few private performances. In February I was invited to do a performance of it at an exclusive function here, and once again the show scored a hit with the audience - hence its projected new lease of life at the Square Space."

Arney's Outrageous Rise reflects the coming of age of Arney van der Merwe, an archetypal reluctant South African hero. In the production Brincat touches on family values, love, friendship and mistaken character judgements. With his inimitably light touch, he turns seemingly mundane material into engaging entertainment with the use of the ancient theatrical device of masks.

A specialist in this highly effective medium, which is one of the cornerstones of theatre vocabulary, Brincat proposes taking the show's new audiences on a roller coaster ride, ranging from gut-aching comedy to tear-jerking pathos.

The masks used in the production are all Aldo's own creations, and could form an art exhibition themselves, with their extraordinarily expressive range of emotions.

"In the first few minutes of the show people enjoy themselves tremendously. Then suddenly as they become aware of the diversity and the individual quality each mask has the production goes a whole lot deeper," says Aldo.

Greg King, director of Popcorn, The Importance of Being Ernest and Keely and Du saw the production several years ago and has never forgotten it. "It was, and still is, one of my favourite productions. When Aldo asked me to help direct the work I snapped it up. Not that it needed any direction. Aldo wanted to update and adjust the show a little. I was game. We have had such fun in the process," says Greg.

Booking through Computicket tickets cost R41 until May 31 (and R42 from June 1). Tickets at the door cost R35.




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