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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

GREEN MAMBA (article first published : 2002-06-29)

Ben Voss and John van de Ruit, FNB Vita award winners both, have put together what they describe as a “venomous satirical comedy” which premiers at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Directed by multi-award winning director Greig White Men With Weapons Coetzee, the show comprises a series of sketches which bear the clear stamp of his skilful flair for sending up a wide variety of subjects in contemporary South Africa.

An amusing voiceover admonishment regarding the use of cell phones starts the show, to be followed by a highly amusing scene demonstrating the most effective way to be a car guard. The humour then follows thick and fast.

John van de Ruit and Ben Voss’s writing is clever, incisive and bang up to date. There’s a Crime Forecast, delivered with the same deadpan presentation as is the weather. We drop into the Big Brother household … several times… to see how the two finalists are coping.

A fairly lengthy sketch sends up the television documentary programme Third Degree. It deals with a bank robbery and involves the input of the Minister of Security; an old lady who gets her words wrong in a very un-PC way, a volatile detective and a stuttering and misleading witness.

The Battle of Isandlwana comes under fire as well, as a pair of doddering old British “commentators” discuss the process as if it were a cricket match.

Ben Voss offers a death policy with a difference, the pair lampoon people in the public eye and their various famous and infamous deeds. One of the highlights was a satire on Westerns which saw Ben Voss barbecuing chickens Nando style and accompanied by brilliantly produced sound effects from John van de Ruit.

The show also provides an opportunity for the two actors to prove that they are budding singers! Are we to expect their next production to have backing tracks?

Green Mamba will be playing in August at the Square Space Theatre in Durban in August. Don’t miss it. - Caroline Smart




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