SOMETIMES WHEN IT seems that the whole world is conspiring wickedly against you, you’re actually an arm’s reach away from a new chapter. And before you reach for the cross stitch to immortalise that legend, dispossess yourself of any silly platitudes as you tune in to the podcast of Martyn Le Roux’s latest Afrikaans-language radio play Afkoeling, which was broadcast on June 13 on Radio Sonder Grense.
Remember the Vermaak family, who you might have met in Hittegolf, another play by Le Roux, broadcast last May? Well, it’s them again, dealing with their dire problems, and adding to them hilariously. Le Roux skilfully weaves darkness with humour in this very finely made work, in which you get a sniff of Nina Simone and a hint of Pink Floyd as the narrative shifts from bad to appalling. But the grin never leaves your face as the pregnancy of Amanda (Mandie Baard), the formerly golden girl of her high school becomes common knowledge, to say nothing of the shenanigans of her younger brother, Danie (Caz MacFadden).
It’s no wonder the dad in the tale, Faan (James Borthwick) has marched off to the garage with a sense of purpose and a gun in hand. And it’s not the yapping dog named Elvis he has in mind as a target. Blending horror and fury, a quest to deal with deafness, a broken loo and an urge to try their luck on the casinos, the mom in the tale, Linda (Fransi Swanepoel) and the Ouma (Elize Cawood) grab the world of misery by the spine, and they don’t let go until the play’s delightful denouement.
It’s a strong work, crafted with wisdom and a knowledge of the type of person drawn here, to say nothing of the relief that a long-awaited storm, metaphysically and actually, does bring on the South African Highveld.
- Afkoeling (Cooling off) is written by Martyn LeRoux. Directed by Kobus Burger, and featuring technical input by Bongiwe Thomas, Patrick Monana, Neria Mokwena and Johan Pieterse, it is performed by Mandie Baard, James Borthwick, Elize Cawood, Duncan Johnson, Caz Macfadden, Fransi Swanepoel and Denver Vraagom. It was broadcast on RSG on June 13, but the review only appears now, due to ill health on the part of My View. The play is available on podcast through the radio station’s website: rsg.co.za