Big laughs and Durban darlings

Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert in Go Big, their new zany comedy show. Directed and choreographed by Daisy Spencer, it is at Durban’s Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre all week, until Sunday, January 9.

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Stage: Go Big – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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BACK for their umpteenth show as Durban’s most formidable comedy duo, the sharp and seasoned husband and wife team of Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert, multiple-award-winners both, never fails to raise a good bellylaugh or two. Their performances in Go Big prove no exception.

Directed with a sense of mischief and also deftly choreographed by Daisy Spencer, who has fashioned the duo’s last few shows, Go Big is loosely hung on a theme of arts activism. However, the new show, not unexpectedly, ricochets in all directions. It offers the team’s trademark collage of quirky sketches, some song and dance, and characters which, appearing against the striking, unchanging backdrop of a large illuminated star, appear in a colourful parade of wigs and costumes.

The production, carrying the tag line Where the laughs are bigger than your lockdown lard!”, runs over two halves and opens with the team, in black, delivering Queen’s The Show Must Go On and Black Eyed Peas’ Let’s Get It Started. The performers then become whining and wide-smiling Charmaine and her henpecked, goofy hubby Nigel, who discuss recent art lessons, their various art creations as a result of that tuition, and Nigel’s relationship with a blonde woman who attended his class.

This leads to Bobbert, now all ashimmer in silver, appearing as the blonde, while McIlroy next pops up as the caped Cornelius, an effete former costume designer who headed for Broadway… well, Broadway Pharmacy, where he worked in admin (at the back of the building). Cornelius is a highlight of the show, a constant delight, and delivers an amusing interpretation of the Alphaville hit, Big in Japan.

Bobbert is at her best as former lighting technician and fitness-guru-by-default Sharon, who appears with a large exercise ball in the show’s second half.

Go Big is a jumble of silliness and unpredictability, the programme including a funny nod to Dirty Dancing, a spot of drag, some flamenco dance and an Abba medley. We are also treated to a lyrically altered rendition of Big Spender performed by McIlroy’s most popular character, Durban Indian VJ, who draws laughter aplenty during a comedy routine that takes many turns in direction.

Also featuring songs associated with The Divinyls, Simply Red, Eric Carmen, MC Hammer and Pitbull, Go Big is a great way to start the new year with a steady grin. Fans will lap it up!

After previewing the production at Durban North’s Northlands Bowling Club recently, the MacBob team now move to the Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre, where performances are at 7pm today (Thursday, January 6), 7pm tomorrow (Friday, January 7), 2pm and 7pm on Saturday (January 8) and 7pm on Sunday (January 9). Tickets cost R200 each (no discounts) and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.


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