Convoluted as the Valley of a Thousand Hills, meandering as the Duzi, deceptive as Polly Shorts, lighthearted as the Durban beachfront on a summer’s day, Termite! Tall Tales for Big People delivers on its promise.
Except for the termite bit. Have no idea what that’s about.
Nevermind. In case the first para wasn’t clear enough, this play is a romp.
Written by that playful poet playwright Greig Coetzee a long time ago when our ruling party had not yet upgraded their tickets from the gravy train to the presidential jet, the script has been updated to to keep some of its satirical bite. Although given the scale of straight-faced looting and lying taking place in our Zuma era, that bite is but a nip, especially since the ANC has got the drop on satirists by stealing the punch line. Anyway, I doubt the satire in Termite! was ever more than a nod to being South African. Fun is foremost and the play is really the result of an imagination as broad as the African sky being put to work answering such questions as why chickens scratch in the dirt and cows don’t move out the way of impatient taxis.
TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande’s expressive energy fails to flag as they bounce, bollemakisie, jump and jive through their physical theatre paces, seamlessly constructing and deconstructing their set of crates as they go. Transforming into a menagerie of animals and the occasional human, either solo or duo, they don’t skip a beat, except on the odd occasion when they can’t but help at laugh at their own expense.
I know corpsing is bad form and it irritated me in the determinedly ridiculously ridiculous Police Cops imported for the fringe from Brighton, but it didn’t bug me here. Perhaps the meta theatre contained in Termite! set the scene for TQ and Mpilo to observe their own preposterous position, making it easier to swallow.
Termite! Tall Tales for Big People is not going to change the state of the nation (what is?) but director Peter Mitchell puts these two fantastically energetic actors through their considerable paces to deliver a rollicking piece of theatre that is a lag for all (except goats, perhaps).
Catch Termite! Tall Tales for Big People at the Cape Town Fringe until Saturday 8 October. Booking and details here. Bring children.