Review – A little help from friends

2012-08-16 08:42

There are things that make us laugh raucously and forget about all our woes. One of those things is real friendship as Theodore Jantjies, Maurice Paige and Christo Davids show us in their latest stage play.

The local trio are better known as the characters of Errol (Davids) and Xander Meintjies (Jantjies) from SABC2’s 7de Laan, and Calvin (Paige) from Isidingo on SABC3.

Davids directs, while Jantjies and Paige act.

They’re from a small town called Heidelberg in the Western Cape and they’ve been acting together on stage since primary school. It’s been their lifelong dream to do their own play.

Platform 9 is a genuine two-man comedy about Theo and Mau (Mo) who are on their way to Johannesburg from Cape Town’s train station, Platform 9.

Although the show is bilingual in English and Afrikaans, there are some lines in Platform 9 that make the Capetonians stick out in the crowd when they’re laughing louder than the rest. With that said, it’s easy to understand and relevant to everyone.

It’s also a first for me to see two actors play themselves on stage, while being in character at the same time.

In the play, Theo is a restuarant chef and Mau has some banal office job while he dreams of becoming SA’s next hip hop star.

Theo tells Mau this story about cooking at a celebrity’s wedding and gets him to pay their train tickets since Theo blew all his money on equipment for his gig.

Mau gives in, on condition he gets to perform at this lavish event, since Theo told him Top Billing will be covering the wedding as well.

They embark on their long journey to the station by taxi, bags and post in hand but then end up on Platform 6 instead of Platform 9 and miss their train to Joburg.

As they await the next train, they meet interesting characters based on real people they know from their home town. Their friendship is tested when they are forced to deal with some harsh truths.

The show left me in stitches throughout, even when the lines were predictable – but only because the characters were so relevant to my own upbringing. And the few sad parts left a lump in my throat. The storyline might be fictional, but the delivery is sincere and heartfelt. Jantjies and Paige portray the joys any friendship can bring and just how it can lift us from the lowest moments in our lives.

There are several characters, but my favourite has to be Prakesh (Paige) and his gay mistress Lovey (Jantjies), the aspiring ballet dancer in a pink tutu and a white lycra bodysuit.

It’s a quirky, feel-good play that will make you want to call your best friends afterwards, if they weren’t sitting beside you during the show.

» Platform 9 runs from August 14 to 19 at The Fringe at Joburg Theatre.

For bookings call: 0861 670 670

Also catch them in Port Elizabeth at the Northern Arts Festival, September 22 and in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town at the Voice Search 2012, October 27. 

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