Double the fun: an Uys showdown

Pieter Dirk Uys as himself and as Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout in #HeTwo: Evita Exposed.

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Stage: #HeTwo: Evita Exposed – Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (from November 19 to 24)
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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THE grand master/dame of South African satire, like that grand ol’ Mississippi River, just keeps rolling along…

Living legend Pieter-Dirk Uys, who turned 74 in September, shows no signs of slowing down in his new touring show, #He Two: Evita Exposed, which, for the first time, has him and his alter-ego of 38 years, Evita Bezuidenhout, on stage at the same time.

They reflect on their times together, their successes and the people with whom they have crossed, and continue to cross, paths. And what a treat that all proves, as they heckle one another and continually nudge and wink in a fascinating retrospective of their conjoined careers.

With Evita appearing in the flesh or on a suspended screen – in both new and historical film footage dating back to the late 1970s – she and Uys continually nudge and wink in a fascinating showdown that sometimes has them and the audience questioning exactly where reality and fake news begin and end.

They loosely chronicle their times in the spotlight, relaying anecdotal moments involving TV shows, awards ceremonies and awkward situations. They also nod to just about everyone from Nelson Mandela, P W Botha, Piet Koornhof and Pik Botha, to Tannie’s kugel sister Noelle Fine, her gardener/lover Nimrod, and Tannie’s sweet Cape Malay maid.

On a stage bare but for a small table and chair alongside a suspended screen, we first meet Uys in a curly grey wig and scarf, as David Attenborough, presiding over the funeral of Tannie Evita, and making animalistic references. It is stated under a photo of South Africa’s most famous white woman, that she graced the Earth from 1935 to 2019 (yes, Pieter-Dirk has always said Evita is 10 years his senior).

It isn’t long, however, before both Evita and Pieter-Dirk make it clear that the old girl is still very much alive and, well-ja, kicking! Not easily, nor quietly, is this icon of the African South, the queen of koeksusters and bobotie, going to quietly disappear.

During the course of the next hour-plus, without an interval, the audience is entertained with fascinating film footage and a delightful series of sketches, with quick costume changes, that explain why both Uys and Tannie have become widely adored, honoured, feared and loved while becoming a part of South African history.

The audience is treated to delicious entertainment that positively crackles with mickey-takes, spot-on impersonations, observational humour, stabbing wit and, with references both old and bang up to the minute, as much nuanced food for thought as tickle for the funnybone.

It is an outpouring of memories and memory-making that no fan can afford to miss, and which amounts to a great précis for any newcomer to this legend’s clout. Long may both Pieter-Dirk and Evita reign!

Booking is at Computicket.


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