Piet se Optelgoed: Honey, I ate the kids and your …

Liezl de Kock in Piet se Optelgoed. Photo: CuePix/Kate Janse van Rensburg

Life is apocalyptic, crazy and torn with unspeakable acts, like chomping phallic sweet potatoes in anger. Piet se Optelgoed (Kingswood Theatre, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th) is physical theatre and clowning of the darkest type. It’s a nightmare shot through with exquisite rays of humour.

Existence is brutal, filthy, but not short on plastic; acres of the stuff create a wrinkled, billowing, tatty conscious landscape, a skin under which lurks the ever-morphing underworld of the unconscious.

Liezl de Kock is a grubby, lumpy but endearing waste-picker in a surreal plastic-and-cardboard wasteland, a bit like living in East London like I do, where every waste site has burned in the last two years, rubbish piles up at corners and beautiful view spots and almost no recycling takes place.

Without giving it away, there is a baby, a cadaverous parent, grotesque laundry, ballsy old turnips, penile potatoes, and enough sadness and contemplation to fill your trash bags for a while.

Yet this beast lurches towards Bethlehem with tenderness, kooky as that may sound.

If you want an introduction to serious theatre, this is the one for you. It is visceral, explicit and shocking, but it’s not nasty and cheap. And it is forgiving.

It’s also open to interpretation and that makes it fun. I recommend it for those who want to go a bit farther, deeper and darker into the woodless future, but hang onto your codpiece.

— Mike Loewe

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