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

THE ONUS CHRONICLES (article first published : 2007-01-20)

The Onus Chronicles is a sketch comedy on the Fringe Theatre of the Musho! Festival, written and performed by Genevieve Akal and Keri Miller, directed by Libby Allen and Ewok.

It was billed as "two white, middle-class, twenty-something South African women arrive home in Hollywood style from a road-trip, and relate their adventures in a series of comic sketches as first world travellers in a third world county". This isn't an apt description; it is more a satirical comment on various aspects of modern life, with some very insightful digs and commentary.

The two protagonists were very good although I didn't get the setting of one or two of the sketches, notably the first one when the two actresses were wearing huge boxing gloves. The evening improved with their next offering satirising the web site My Space. Far better was the next sketch with Keri Miller as a doctor sprouting every abbreviation in the lexicon and Genevieve Akal as the nurse.

At times, particularly in My Space, Genevieve Akal's delivery was too fast and she swallowed her words. However, she shone in another sketch where she had an arrow through her head and was desperately trying to get Keri Miller to notice this and help her. Keri Miller's sketch detailing the trials and tribulations of being accosted by hawkers while stopping at red traffic lights was hilarious, as was Genevieve Akal's humorous monologue on why guys pinch arses.

One of the best items was Keri Miller as one of Oprah Winfrey's 12 year-old girls being plucked from her home and plunged into the luxurious surroundings of the new school being sponsored by Oprah. Real irony and much insight, albeit often rather cynical, but then, that's what stand-up comedy is made of.

Poetry corner poked great fun at the ridiculous stand-up rubbish presented as poetry and Emo date narrated by Keri Miller and beautifully mimed by Genevieve Akal was also funny. They also enacted Breaking News on ASS TV, with well maintained Australian accents. The highlight of the evening was the item on the number of times Keri Miller has had her car stolen or high-jacked, which led into the grand finale, a parody of the song We Both Reached for the Gun from Chicago in which they sang their own very clever words and Keri Miller did some neat tap dancing. It's a pity that the backing track singing of the original chorus drowned out their own words and singing.

The whole evening was enjoyable with good presentations. It is very contemporary and the, young, audience loved it, roaring with laughter. Maurice Kort




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