A MURDER, A suicide, a mysterious letter and a court case are the central elements of this intriguing yarn cast in the context of South African violence. Based on a true story which hit the media in 2012, Skink vir my ‘n whisky is a subtly developed Afrikaans-language drama which has several unexpected twists in its plot, where nothing is obvious and little is unequivocally revealed.
The writing and performances of the central characters in this tale of woe are beautifully developed and you can picture the give and take between friends who love each other, but still have histories and secrets. The first scenes which present an unexpected funeral are handled with sophisticated empathy. Writer Nico (Albert Pretorius), who is an aspirant magazine publisher, brutally loses his brother-in-law in a cold-blooded robbery, and the loss is too great for his sister, Roelien (Christine Tesco) to bear.
Time passes, but the wounds do not heal. It’s only when a curious incident with a letter underneath a carpet in a house being refurbished reveals another mystery, that things get cast in a different direction. While the narrative lines and sequential chronology are not always clearly outlined, you have to listen very carefully to everything, including the quoted snippets from the news on the wireless, to gather all the information you need to understand what’s at play here.
Is it about loyalty between friends? Is it about being framed? This drama that deals with nudist values and tattoos how to hide horror stories is a curious one. Premised on the ‘if you are reading this, I’m already dead’ kind of cliché that informs many a horror tale, on a level, this play demands more time to grow, and more contextual development. On another, the characters are nicely formed and lend insight into personas who you think you can trust. But can you? Altogether, it’s imminently listenable, and will keep you guessing beyond its closure as to what really happened.
- Skink vir my ‘n whisky (Pour me a whisky) is written by Deon Johnston. Directed by Eben Cruywagen, and featuring technical input by Cassie Lowers, it is performed by Martelize Kolver, Haidee Muller, Pierre Nelson, Albert Pretorius, Wessel Pretorius and Christine Tesco, and debuts on Radio Sonder Grense at 8pm on May 31. It will be rebroadcast on RSG’s all-night programme at 1am on Monday, June 4 and is also available on podcast: rsg.co.za