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BLACK MAMBA (article first published : 2006-07-20)

Ben Voss and John van de Ruit make a very welcome return to Durban at The Heritage Theatre, Heritage Market, Hillcrest, with their hit show Black Mamba jointly written with editing by Greig Coetzee after sell-out seasons in Hilton and Grahamstown. This is the very funny and extremely clever sequel to their international hit Green Mamba, an even “more venomous comedy with a deadly bite” with uncompromising sharpness to the sketches which are so socially astute and extremely clever.

There are nine sketches, each presented with lightning delivery and repartee covering topical issues covered and no punches pulled. The show opens with Two Many Cooks, complete with White Whine and full of double entendres, with the Democratic Alliance and the rainbow nation taking much very humorous flack. This is followed by Incredible Deception, all about a slick fast talking computer salesman confusing a novice, I don't think there is a single abbreviation or technical term omitted.

Carte Blanche with Derek “Twatts" interviewing an executive at NOBS, an 18 year old matric school boy (the portrayal by Ben Voss is spot on), and Manto Tshabalala Missing-Her-Mango (an outstanding Ben Voss once again) - one of the highlights of the show in my opinion. Metro Macho satirises brilliantly how "straight" men can act while watching rugby (of course). Sage Sexual Advice by Elizabeth and Beryl where they answer readers' letters over the radio and News for Whites, news at its funniest, very “punny”; follow.

The Rednecked Klipdrifter also known as Homo vulgaris Semi Erectus (a Springbok rugby fan) is illustrated by Ben Voss with John van de Ruit, as an anthropologist/game ranger, describing him. Another superb sketch is a brilliant quiz show The Missing Link where Professor Sharp has to give the answers to the previous questions posed, very clever writing and delivery by two very talented writers and performers. The final item is a twelve minute Illustrated History of South Africa which spans 600 years of conquering and re-conquering with every nation that ever inhabited South Africa being depicted.

The sketches are linked with equally funny short voice over inserts using the talents of Tim Wells and Lisa Bobbert. The show is directed by Murray McGibbon.

Turning to the menu, always a draw card, with good service, the starters on offer are Soup of the Day (sweet corn tonight), Vegetable Springrolls with a sweet chilli dipping sauce (it's a pity they were served so cold); and Rissoles (over a rocket and tomato salad with a balsamic dressing). For the Main Attraction, one has a choice of Chicken and Prawn Curry (with basmati rice and sambals); Smoked Drakensberg Trout (stuffed with Teriyaki wok tossed vegetables, new potatoes and Beurre Rose sauce); Vegetable Chow Mein (seasonal vegetables wok tossed with ginger, rice noodles and sweet Soya sauce); or the (very deservedly) ever popular Braised Lamb Shank (with baby potatoes, stir-fry vegetables and a red wine mushroom jus).These are served before the show and an optional Curtain Call (dessert), at an extra charge of R19.50 to R26.50, is served during the interval, viz. Crème Brulee; Vanilla Ice Cream; or Bread and Butter Pudding.

The show tonight (Wednesday) was a full house so book early or you'll be faced with full houses. Booking is through Computicket or on 031 765 4197. The show runs at the Heritage Theatre until July 30 from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h00 (supper) for 20h30 (show) and Sunday lunchtime specials at 12h30 (lunch) for 14h00 (show). – Maurice Kort




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