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DEFENDING THE PLANET (article first published : 2004-06-5)

Energy at full voltage is what you’ll get from Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert in their zany discourse about aliens, Defending the Planet, the response to previous shows by other performers on the subject: Defending the Caveman, Defending the Cavewoman and Defending the Cave Brats.

While watching Defending the Planet this evening at Catalina, the thought crossed my mind that between them Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert must surely generate enough energy to drive a small atomic power station! This is an energy-plus performance from two of our finest theatre practitioners who have been tightly directed by Susan Monteregge (also co-scriptwriter with Aaron) into a madcap romp about beings from outer space.

Award-winning choreographer David Gouldie also has a hand in the show – no doubt in getting Lisa en pointe in ballet shoes! Are there no boundaries to this creative actress’s talents?

The setting, cleverly created for touring by Sue Donaldson-Selby and imaginatively lit by Michael Broderick, is the sixth Annual General Meeting of Alien Abductions Anonymous.

Well-known and much-loved characters from the Aaron/Lisa shows are there in full force. Nigel Bjorn van Rensburg, a completely manic “alien love child” in camouflage mismatch has much to say about fighting these creatures while Veejay Moodley takes the more pragmatic approach of making money from the relationship! His advice is to just “blend in … and make a killing!”

Lisa opens the proceedings as Lucy Sky (you can guess which song is going to follow!), welcoming those present. She makes particular reference to the “initiates” - hapless but goodnatured audience members who suddenly find themselves plunged into the spotlight - who are attending the AGM for the first time and this clever ruse acts as a narration process. Drawing on Defending the Caveman’s hunter (male) and gatherer (female) analogies, she explains the types of aliens that can be encountered and how to deal with them!

Aaron was particularly amusing as Dicky Starbuckle, a performer just out of rehab, and the “black” rap singer Aaron B (sponsored by ANC Government).

Lisa was a delight as Li’l Lisa – loud-mouthed partner to Aaron B - as well as car guard Delphine Delport who underwent an “alien experience” while on duty. Supported by her wild-haired partner, she battles her way through a busking number they’ve only just written!

If you want a completely insane but highly enjoyable night out, then head for the Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf immediately!

Defending the Planet runs at the Catalina until June 27. Book at the theatre on 031 305 6889. Group bookings of 20 or more from Sharon on 083 486 3271. – Caroline Smart




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