Outrageously funny

2011-05-26 00:00

REVIEW: Doo Bee Boobies

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

IF watching men in drag turns you off, stop reading now. If watching men in drag presenting a show that dwells fairly explicitly on gay coupling, then definitely stop reading now. However, if none of the above deters you, you’re in for a great time with Doo Bee Boobies , which is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until May 29.

Some 18 years on, Robert Whitehead, Mark Hawkins, Tony Bentel and Ebrahim Medell reprise their smash hit, first seen at the Playhouse nearly a generation ago. Joined by Stephen van Niekerk and Stanimir Stoykov, they prove that they’ve still got what it takes.

The opening scene is set with dressing-room tables and mirrors and the moment Hawkins, Bentel, Medell and Van Niekerk appeared, they received a tumultuous response. They then launched into a lip-synched version of A Little More Mascara as they put on their drag outfits. Later, this foursome appeared in a hilarious send-up of the Pas de Quatre from Swan Lake.

Whitehead, known to millions of viewers as Barker Haines, the bad guy in Isidingo, does his own singing and after seeing him sing He’s My Mailman and his appearance in an outlandish Scottish outfit, no audience member will ever see Barker in the same light again.

Hawkins and Medell are most well-known to Durban theatre audiences through the Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company. Medell puts in his usual focused and deliciously ironic performance and impressed with a variety of numbers from a send-up of Edith Piaf songs to a hilarious take of The Dying Swan, complete with gas mask.

Hawkins surprised us all. I mean, we haven’t seen him dance for – well, 18 years, and there were gasps when he executed the splits and did a turn at pole dancing!

Bentel provides most of the keyboard backing as the long-suffering female accompanist wearing a seemingly never-ending wardrobe of hats and wigs. However, when he does emerge from behind the instrument, he proves he can high-kick with the best of them.

Evincing an endearing vulnerability, Van Niekerk impresses with the quality and range of his singing voice — especially in Danny Boy . And Stoykov is highly amusing in the role of the sympathetic nurse to the aged.

Each item is a delight but highlights for me were The Bulgarian Balloon Act, Bentel’s It’s Hard to be a Woman — complete with a sequined industrial hard hat, Van Niekerk’s compelling Memory, Medell’s performance as an Irish elf, and Hawkins and Whitehead as the aged singing duo, The Lush Sisters.

Doo Bee Boobies is camp beyond camp, outrageously funny and will definitely shock purists and the naiive. - Caroline Smart (courtesy of www.artsmart.co.za)

• Doo Bee Boobies is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN Durban until Sunday. The age restriction is 16. Booking is at Computicket.

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