The beginning of a beautiful friendship


PLAY it, Sam. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are central to the rendezvous of Mike and Mavis in this week’s Afrikaans radio drama.

THERE IS ALWAYS time for schmaltzy love stories, particularly when they are beautifully crafted and resonate with so many values that give you an understanding of what love is all about. Wessel Pretorius’s delicate RSG Afrikaans-language radio play Mike en Mavis ticks all these boxes, within a Casablanca framework with a plot that invokes a spot of amnesia and a needy adult daughter.

It’s a straight forward romance for the over 60s that evokes the kind of maverick passion and hidden secrets that you might remember from Hal Ashby’s 1971 film Harold and Maude. Mavis (Elize Cawood), is freshly widowed. You first meet her writing an email to her daughter Deidre (Jenna Dunster). She’s a woman with values and a sense of the appropriate. And then, she meets Mike (Wilson Dunster) in a context which almost feels like a bit of magic realism that evokes Sara Gruen’s delightful 2006 novel Water for Elephants. The bioscope is all theirs and with dollops of rich nostalgia and the best of the best of golden oldies on the big screen, it’s all you would imagine.

The meeting is masterminded, however, but the plot is trotted out smoothly. And adult daughter with relationship issues aside it is Mavis who realises that happiness doesn’t knock twice. The give and take between this family of performers – Jenna Dunster is the daughter of Elize Cawood and Wilson Dunster – give this play a comfort and a sense of charm which is not rocket science to listen to, and will unabashedly warm the cockles of your heart.

  • Mike en Mavis is written by Wessel Pretorius. Directed by Gerrit Schoonhoven, and featuring technical input by Neria Mokoena and Patrick Monnana, it is performed by Elize Cawood, Jenna Dunster and Wilson Dunster, and broadcasts on RSG on December 27 at 8pm. It rebroadcasts at 1am on the radio station’s all night programme, Deurnag, on December 31 and is also available on podcast.

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