REVIEW | A quick relaxing escape for a Tuesday night - this drama offers a little local nostalgia

Mooiweer en Warm.
Mooiweer en Warm.
Photo: kykNET

At a run-of-the-mill church on the Highveld, Pastor Issie is struggling – like many other pastors – to keep her congregation afloat. It is for this reason that she agrees to sign a contract with Alex Kemp to use the church grounds for a flea market every Saturday. 

At a run-of-the-mill church on the Highveld, pastor Issie is struggling – like many other pastors – to keep her congregation afloat. For this reason, she agrees to sign a contract with Alex Kemp to use the church grounds for a flea market every Saturday. 

A nostalgia for Afrikaans, the good parts - that's how co-director Ephraim Gordon describes kykNET's new Tuesday evening show - Mooiweer en Warm. Set in the dryness of South Africa's Highveld, it's a slice-of-life portrait of a typical church flea market, reminiscent of the ones from your childhood filled with sugary bazaar pannekoek, cheap sunnies and tattered second-hand books, all supervised by the keen eyes of church tannies. It didn't have to be a church event - any school or community-organised market had the same features - and Mooiweer en Warm brings those memories to life with its colourful vendors and their personal dramas. 

These characters are brought together by a weekend flea market hosted on church grounds in an effort of its first woman, reverend Ds Boshoff to expand their revenue, much to the aggravation of church scribe Bokkie Oktober. As he struggles to keep morals in check at the market, the vendors start banding together against his puritanical oversight. In the background, a geologist with a chip on her shoulder discovers some potentially fatal faults at a dam reservoir she's overseeing and fights to be heard about its dangers to the community below. 

The series is written by the acclaimed Paul C. Venter from Arende and brought to life by directors Ephraim from Barakat fame and Zandré Coetzer from Nagvlug Films. Many strings tie each Mooiweer en Warm character to the other, and it might take a while to remember everyone's motivations. The cast is a mix of new faces and South Africa's most well-known veterans like Deon Lotz, Brümilda van Rensburg, André Samuels, Antoinette Kellerman, Ira Blanckenberg and Paul du Toit, among many others. 

But what keeps you engaged are the small stories rather than the big ones, the normal everyday struggles that we can all relate to - some funny, some sad, some ridiculous - and it provides a quick relaxing escape for a Tuesday night slot. It does take two episodes to get into the story's rhythm - a mix of soapie and comedy - and the unique approach to video editing. Hopefully, it can maintain its momentum throughout the season and retain its appeal to younger and older audiences. You probably won't like every character or storyline, but you'll find at least one you can relate to in the diverse lineup. My favourite was a tie between the constantly frustrated Bokkie, played exuberantly by Samuels with his overzealous antics, and the laid-back and charming birder Meyer Basson played by Beer Adriaanse, just happily floating through life as he falls for the obsessive geologist. 

The diversity of characters does come at a price - some performances are more grounded than others, and at times it felt like some people were performing in different types of shows than the rest. It eventually strikes a balance in the second episode, but we will have to wait and see if the story doesn't get too stretched by the variety of threads. Mooiweer en Warm's biggest draw is its fun setting, exploring themes of survival, love and resilience through its everyday vendors and the church board everyone's constantly at odds with. Yet, the addition of the crumbling dam storyline feels too grandiose for the show as a whole. 

We will have to wait and see how the kykNET show evolves in its coveted Tuesday 20:00 slot from 7 February and if the many gambles pan out. But if you're in the mood for a little local nostalgia, community bazaars and church politics, then it's worth giving this show a shot.

Where to watch: Tuesday, at 20:00 on kykNET (DStv 144)

Cast: Carla Smith, Carlo Daniels, Athina Jansen, Geon Nel, Marisa Drummond, Beer Adriaanse 

Our rating: 3/5 Stars


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