STAGE: Hysterix – Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof (until December 24), then at Northlands Bowling Club in Durban North (December 27 to 31)
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
NEVER has there been a better time for a good few bellylaughs than now, at the end of the worst year in recent living memory – and there are few performers better to provide that than award-winning Durban darlings Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert.
As the amiable married couple have done every year-end in recent years at the Rhumbelow Theatre venues, they present a new, merry, mish-mash of a show – a large, tinselly lucky dip of mirth, music and madness showcasing both new and familiar characters and songs in fresh settings, along with some surprises.
The show opens with an off-stage jingle of bells and Bobbert appearing in figure-hugging, animal-print “onesie” suit – in her popular guise as whining airhead Charmaine. She sings All I Want for Christmas is You, channelling her best Mariah Carey vocal gymnastics to (intentionally) disastrous effect. She ends her schreechy session with a glare at her long-suffering husband, Bruce, who arrives on stage in a mask and in his underwear.
The goofy, skittish, hen-pecked Bruce, who is quickly ordered by Charmaine to get fully dressed, is always great value for money and McIlroy’s delivery never fails as he then joins Charmaine – behind a large, suspended, picture frame – to present “Webinar for Dummies’. The result is a serious of hilarious hints and tips about the dos and don’ts of Zoom session webinars.
Among other sketches to look forward to in this show, presented over two acts, is one involving a dull, deadbeat married couple who veg out in front of a TV set, eating pizza, lazily shouting orders and grudgingly contemplating life after lockdown.
My favourite sketch, however, has McIlroy as Joel van Niekerk, a bewigged and effete “interior designer, sous chef and sometime naked model for art students”, who gushes on about wine appreciation. All the while, his timid wife, Minnie, bumbles and becomes increasingly inebriated while presenting wine samples that fall far short of what Joel expects. It ends in McIlroy delivering a fun rendition of Minnie the Moocher that involves audience participation in the choruses.
Also here, and not unexpectedly, is perhaps McIlroy’s most popular character, Durban Indian VJ. He draws a constant flow of laughs with a pacy, rambling conversation that covers everything from his infatuation with Charlene, Princess of Monaco, to martial arts, anger management and spontaneous combustion.
Bobbert’s spike-haired Tina Turner, now performing Private Dancer, as well as a rendition of New York, New York (complete with Bobbert’s trademark high kicks at a cymbal) also make their umpteenth appearance, yet still keep the audience more than happy.
McIlroy’s song performances include I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and the amusing Who’s The Man (for which he accompanies himself on guitar). We also get a lyrically reworked One Way Or Another and The Time Warp (with Bobbert and the audience). The duo’s traditional, loony, audience participation piece, Superman, closes the show.
Hysterix is a must for fans of this deliciously dippy duo and anyone who wants some crazy fun.
The show has a limited engagement at Tina’s Hotel, as follows:
TUESDAY 15 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
WEDNESDAY 16 DEC 2020 Show starts 14.00
THURSDAY 17 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
FRIDAY 18 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
SATURDAY 19 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
SUNDAY 20 DEC 2020 Show starts 14.00
TUESDAY 22 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
WEDNESDAY 23 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
THURSDAY 24 DEC 2020 Show starts 19.30
Show tickets cost R180 each and a choice of five meal options is available at an additional cost of R100 a head should patrons be interested. Booking is at Computicket or by phoning Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.