A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

supper theatre
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

THE HOUSE HUSBAND (article first published : 2001-03-9)

Running in the Playhouse Cellar for three weeks, Aldo Brincat’s The House Husband is now on the theatre circuit for the third time in less than six months. He presented it at the Slice of Madness festival at Kwasuka Theatre in October and several months ago at the Square Space Theatre on the University of Natal Durban’s campus.

While I didn’t get to see the first two Durban runs, after first seeing the show in Grahamstown last year (2000), my review stated that I found Aldo’s performance low key and “almost confidential and apologetic”. Happily, the Cellar presentation sees a much more vigorous production although I still remain unconvinced that Aldo has entirely got to grips on his material.

Perhaps it is his natural demeanour where a smile is never far from the eyes or the mouth but while I sense the pain that the character he plays is going through, the energy level is not strong enough to engage me completely. Aldo produces a sense of detachment to the character which I believes deserves more than he is giving it. It leaves one with the feeling that this is a no-hoper but the text says otherwise.

The story is about a young South African man who was retrenched and has emigrated to Canada. To those cool and rainy climes he has brought his “Poppie” with the promise of a better life. Her close-knit family keep sending food parcels which make her even more homesick for everything that she holds familiar and safe … despite South Africa’s crime rate.

Some 18 months down the line, the man’s adopted land of promise has proved to offer nothing in the way of employment. So he becomes a house husband while Poppie works as a nursing sister. And he’s counting the days to the magic 900-mark when friends in similar circumstances assure them that they will both feel as if they’ve become Canadians.

He feels emasculated and in default of his duty to care for Poppie. But he’s a hotshot cook and if he would but transfer some of this passion to their relationship, perhaps things would not be so bleak. While tearfully recounting their slap-up (literally!) fight, he is more concerned about his cheese and spinach pie which is sliding down the walls and windows and into the heating radiator.

In revenge for Poppie’s behaviour, he’s going to make her a potjie a la toi toi with Alberta beef which he believes knocks the spots off South African beef. Coupled with that will be a green leaf salad and litchi ice-cream. “That’ll make her put on a few grams”, he muses with vengeful delight.

Aldo holds his pauses beautifully and I saw no evidence of microphones which proves that the Cellar has good acoustics for the unplugged human voice. Now working on a very wide stage, I feel Aldo could splash out on a few more props to bear out the fact that he is immaculately house-proud. Also it would be better if the props he does use could be placed on stage and not in the wings, necessitating his departure from the stage.

The House Husband is a skilfully created piece which runs without interval. It is highly relevant and at times is highly amusing, poignant and gutsy.

The menu offers two choices for each course. Starters are a delicately-flavoured Avocado Soup or a Calamari Salad with a strong pepper content. Main courses are very tender Medallions of Beef Tenderloin or Chicken Veronique – again a bit heavy-handed with the peppers, for my liking. Both are served with a generous accompaniment of vegetable stirfry and delicious croquette potatoes. The desserts are Chocolate Mousse or – the star item on the menu - Fruit Fritters served with orange sauce and ice cream.

Book at TicketWeb.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart