I have been watching Pieter-Dirk Uys play his satirical roles as various South African politicians on both sides of the 1994 divide, South Africa’s most famous white woman – Evita Bezuidenhout, the lovely Bambi Kellerman, the intriguing Ouma Ossewania and many more, for more than forty years now. Although I am a little younger than he is, we’ve grown together. I once lived next door to him in Melville, although I hardly ever saw him – he is fairly retiring in his personal life.
The last show of his at Montecasino, this time last year, was an autobiographical one, The Echo of a Noise. This one, When in Doubt Say Darling, is another autobiographical show. He is clearing out his space in his home in Darling, Western Cape, and as he deals with the various props, he reminisces about his various productions.
Most of the older audience remember, with great fondness, each of the characters (and more) he takes props and memories out of his signature plastic crates. I loved his take on “today’s news” as he looks at “polonialism” and Winnie Mandela who is possibly reuniting with Nelson – unless they have gone to different places.
Pieter-Dirk Uys has become a social campaigner over the years, for voter education, for HIV education and for social upliftment wherever he happens to be. He recounts heart-warming tales of what he is experiencing as he interacts with the underprivileged youngsters from Darling. This section alone is all new and wonderfully amusing without any satire.
Younger audience members assured me they didn’t feel alienated by not knowing who Piet Koornhof was, or not really remembering PW (or any other) Botha. It was almost as if they were stepping into history. However, most of his audience has aged alongside him and we continue to love his shows even as we remember those days alongside him.
When in Doubt Say Darling runs at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino’s Studio Theatre (upstairs, no disabled access) until 22 April 2018. Tickets from Computicket.