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EK IS ‘N DOOS (article first published : 2002-10-4)

Mark Banks is back in town. A regular face on the theatre scene since he first brought We’re Not On Top, We’re Inside to Durban in 1986, he is appearing in his one-man show Ek is ‘n Doos at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

Don’t be tempted to think – “Been there, done that - we know the kind of material he presents.”

If you do, you’ll miss out on Mark Banks’ best show to date – a mixture of stand-up comedy, raconteur, satire and a delightful series of characterisations. The wit is rapier sharp as always, the utterances sometimes breathtaking in their surgical dissection and observation and the delivery fast and furious. And the audiences love him. Even the latecomers and the “lady from Kloof” who come in for some serious lampooning!

The show gallops along through an amusing discussion on coat hangar sellers before he touches on the lack of time President Thabo Mbeki spends in the country he governs and takes a look at the never-ending list of conferences on obscure subjects (“Does anyone every DO anything??” he asks, to rapturous applause!).

Then follows a list of characters who, in one way or another, look at the state of South Africa either through the eyes of South Africans now living abroad or those living here behind a barricade of Trellidors. There’s a saleslady who offers tours to South Africa of a decidedly different nature where you only need “a permit to shoot Springbok - not people”. Other carefully-drawn characters are a North Country woman with arms akimbo and a shaky old Jewish man who’s hung up on mistaken identity.

The most successful are a train driver smarting under the injustice of being dismissed from Spoornet because he “wouldn’t wave” and a cane-thwacking Brigadier with moustache, tweed jacket and cap who mutters that you can get “more for the mango leaf than the rand” and offers his own brand of advice - “Don’t stick your head out of the trench”. The audience favourite is undoubtedly the maid in braided hair and overalls – a one-woman demolition squad who has perfected the art of crocodile tears and producing “a long face”!

According to Mark, Ek is ‘n Doos is pronounced "Exodus" and translates as "I'm an idiot". I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose the title for the pure devilish delight and satisfaction of listening to presenters having to pronounce the name on national radio and TV networks!

“Thank you for sharing in my madness” he quips at the end of the show. Judging by the ecstatic response from the audience, they found the experience highly fulfilling as well. It’s no wonder the show has played to packed audiences in Johannesburg, London and Cape Town.

So, get your tickets quickly before he’s sold out! The show runs until October 13 and booking is at Computicket. – Caroline Smart




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