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COKEY FALKOW (article first published : 2005-05-16)

We have seen them come and go – stand-up comedians shouting filthy words into microphones, with young adults streaming to the theatres and pubs to be subjected to hollow rhetoric verbal diarrhoea. Something that has alienated theatre-goers from the stand-up genre.

Then again – is the target market the normal theatre-goer? Certainly not.

Cokey Falkow, however, forces one to stand still for a moment to consider the essence of theatre and live entertainment in a free democratic society.

It is often said that theatre-makers need to get in touch with the younger generations and get into their minds.

A former Durban entertainer, Cokey Falkow succeeds in this through rambling on about socio-political issues without for a moment offending his audience at the same time being brutally honest. He says what we dare not say and in so doing generates a proudly South-African feel of acceptance amongst the different race groups. We are what we are and let us laugh about it. And laugh, the audience did. Lots.

He uses his Durban background effectively to his advantage and gets the audience to identify with him from the start. The normal comments regarding latecomers (why is it that we always have latecomers in Durban – almost as if planned?) are clichéd, yet it works.

What struck me most about Falkow is that despite making use of the standard stand-up comedy recipe and despite very little being new, he pulls it off mainly because he is truly a talented performer. His clever script is his and he keeps the audience in the palm of his hand squeezing tighter and tighter as he moves along.

Unfortunately – maybe effectively – he opens that hand abruptly and drops the audience from the virtual height of a ten-story building at the end of the show leaving them shouting for more, in vain. Indeed an anti-climax for some.

It would be absolutely wonderful if theatre makers in our East Coast city would learn from Falkow as to what audience are looking for: brutal honesty addressing zillions of issues (other than apartheid) in a very entertaining manner.

If swear words offend – avoid. But if you are a truly 2005 South African that enjoys laughing at clever and witty contemporary issues – do not miss!

Cokey Falkow runs at the Catalina Theatre at Wilson’s Wharf until May 21 with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 and Sundays at 18h00. Tickets R60 (pensioner and student discounts apply). To book call Thandeka on 031 305 6889.

For block booking discounts and charity fundraisers call Glenda on 031 305 7612. - Thomie Holtzhausen




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