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MY COUSIN BROTHER (article first published : 2003-08-19)

My Cousin Brother from the madcap duo of Aaron McIlroy and Kaseran Pillay is not so much supper theatre but inter-active entertainment. Directed by Krijay Govender, it relies heavily on audience participation and will no doubt receive this in its forthcoming season at Lango’s Theatre in Durban North.

Described as a cross cultural comedy, it is based on the amusing scenario of the smooth-talking, smart dressing Devan Reddy (Kaseran) and his “cousin/brother” who is descended from the marriage of one of his relations to an Irish woman. The couple return to South Africa where their young son, Seamus Patrick O’Reilly (Aaron), picks up the accent of those surrounding him and becomes known in his new homeland as Sham.

Aaron and Kaseran are well-established comedy figures in Durban: Aaron McIlroy in shows such as The Loser and Mr Personality and Kaseran Pillay in the Smirnoff Comedy Festival and Comedy Shop.

You know the production is going to be way off the wall from the start. A voice-over unctuously declaims the passing of one Auntie Sooshie at her funeral which is taking place in an area supposedly adjoining the stage. The ever-opportunistic “cousin/brothers” feel that having paid for the funeral parlour, it would be silly to waste the remaining allocated time and decide that it would be a perfect place to stage auditions for extras for their forthcoming Bollywood musical.

You’ve guessed it – the audience becomes the hopeful auditionees and must learn the movements of the Bhangra dance form. In the second half of the show they take on the guise of family members who have all been roped in to provide security for the event. One solid citizen will be called upon to be a rock!

I believe this could be an interesting work in progress and has much potential. Kaseran Pillay is a good foil for Aaron McIlroy’s extensive performing talents and between them they could extend this production much further. For the moment, however, it’s a lot of fun and nonsense but be prepared to join in the harmless lunacy!

The meal on offer for this show is a vast improvement on the last supper theatre meal we had at Lango’s and there is an increased number of choices.

For starters, there’s a lightly flavoured and enjoyable Portabellini Mushroom Soup and nicely-presented Smoked Fish Delicatessen which includes smoked salmon and mackerel. Other choices are Warm Duck Salad in a Raspberry Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese Baguette on a Seasonal Salad. Main course options are Rare (although not rare enough for my liking) Roast Beef Café de Paris style, Grilled Cape Yellowtail Provencale, Chef Bertold’s Chicken & Prawn Bunny (or Chicken & Prawn Roti if the size of the Bunny alarms you!) and Veggie Burger and Chips. For dessert, there’s Double Cream Ice Cream topped with wild berries; Baked Cheesecake and Bar One Chocolate Cake.

The show runs until September 21. Tickets R65 and a three course meal is R75. To book contact Computicket or the theatre on 031 563 7324. – Caroline Smart




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