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

BARRY HILTON (article first published : 2002-09-25)

Durbanites who haven’t booked tickets and are still hoping to see Barry Hilton’s show at the Barnyard Theatre which runs until September 29 should read no further. That way they won’t get depressed, knowing what a great show they missed!

However, at the end of this review is information on Barry’s further stops on his 2002 Laughter to the People national tour so you can start planning a trip out of Durban to see him perform. Find any excuse. Call it emergency medical treatment, if you like, because this irrepressible man generates so much relaxed laughter from his audiences that a healing and rejuvenating process must naturally follow.

The publicity stated that Barry Hilton is arguably the “cleanest” stand-up comedian currently performing in South Africa. That statement is no exaggeration. It was a sheer pleasure to be entertained at the highest possible level without barbed prejudice, snide racism or crude language. He says “kak” more than a couple of times, which doesn’t really count, and that’s about the nearest he gets!

Dressed in a wildly-patterned loose shirt, baggy trousers and trainers, he explained to his audience that he wasn’t really a celebrity – just a “normal oke with a better job than you!” Clearly uncomfortable with Durban’s heat, he quipped that you don’t have to exercise here and work up a sweat – “you just lie in your bed and ooze!”

Barry Hilton is a skilful, generous and engaging entertainer. In a hilarious sequence he describes his father’s response to a packet of dagga he discovered in his son’s possession. Providing much of the humour were stories regarding Barry’s own sons – particularly Tyler who seems to be a young man firmly heading in his father’s comedy footsteps!

Also a keen observer of the characteristics of animals, his description of his family pets and their supposed language had me crying with laughter. The SPCA should employ him on a permanent basis. His love of animals is evident.

Last year Hilton performed over 75 sold-out shows in his thecousin.com national tour to over 35,000 people in theatres all over South Africa. On his trip to Europe he performed further sold-out shows in England, France, Wales, The Channel Islands, Holland and Ireland. So he’s obviously got the universal formula right!

Laughter to the People goes on to perform in East London on September 30, Worcester on October 1 and 2 then at the Hermanus Whale Festival on October 3 (two shows). He will also perform at Caesar’s in Johannesburg on November 7 to 9. More details on 083 546-0984.

Last night we chose our meal from the Mimmo’s restaurant at Gateway – the Spaghetti Alfredo was pleasant if lacking in seasoning but the Lasagne was good. Coming up at Barnyard next is Rock Me Amadeus which opens on October 1 to run until January 26. – Caroline Smart




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