Music, mirth, madness and marriage

Lisa Bobbert and Aaron McIlroy in Marriage For Dummies, which both also wrote and directed. The show is in Durban until March 11. Pictures by Val Adamson.

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Stage: Marriage For Dummies – Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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SEASONED Durban darlings Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert are back at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until March 11 with another riotous, ridiculous romp built on screwball comedy, song, some dance and a collection of funny, familiar characters that have become their trademark over the years.

This time the silliness centres on whining Charmaine and her henpecked husband Bruce hosting a marriage seminar they have arranged and where we, the audience, are the delegates.

Lisa makes her entry by strutting down the auditorium steps in a Kevin Ellis-designed bridal dress, bouquet in hand, to the strains of Chapel of Love. A gormless, suited Bruce, meanwhile, nervously waits on a stage decorated with a canopy, white drapes, flowers and champagne on a table.

Together, after some talk and mild tension, they lurch into a rendition of Summer Loving from Grease, complete with audience participation, before they discuss six rules for a successful marriage, while coming and going in various costumes and wigs to depict different characters.

Lower your expectations, says Charmaine as a suggestion for marital bliss, as she points to a flip-chart on stage, before she and Bruce go on to offer amusing perspectives on attitude, hopes, blame and taking responsibility.

Aaron McIlroy as one of his many amusing characters in Marriage For Dummies.

Investments and Returns is another category they consider – basically, what you put into a marriage you get out, they say, going on to discuss discovering a partner’s love language and the importance of affirming each other.

All the favourite characters appear – not least Aaron’s creepy, long-haired lothario (performing Enrique Iglesias’s Hero) and his popular Indian smooth-talker, VJ, here making his entrance performing Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything For Love before offering his two cents worth on love and marriage.

Also, in a routine that goes on just a little too long, we get Lisa as earthy car guard Delphine, here joined by her fellow car guard husband Koos, who constantly scratches an itchy rash and joins Delphine for a lyrically reworked rendition of Personality.

Another song that gets a comical reworking is Lady Gaga’s Poker Face (changed, by Lisa, to Botox Face). Also here is a reworked That’s Amore (changed to That’s Annoying), which featured in the more intimate, perhaps even more fun, Aaron and Lisa at Tina’s show that the couple recently staged at the Rhumbelow Theatre’s Kloof branch, at Tina’s Hotel.

Marriage For Dummies may be more loose at the edges, seemingly more thrown together, than more recent Aaron and Lisa successes, but it remains a delicious soufflé of nonsense and an obvious crowd-pleaser. It runs for about 75 minutes without an interval.

Performances are at 7.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and 6pm on Sundays. Booking for the show, which features lighting design by Michael Broderick and sound design by Jackie Cunniffe, is at Computicket outlets.


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