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THE LAST MOUSTACHE
DIRECTOR: Greg Viljoen
PERFORMER: Tim Plewman
VENUE: The Market’s Laager
UNTIL: September 1
If anyone told you about a play with Hitler at the centre – adding that it’s funny – you would probably turn away in disbelief. Even having talked to the playwright, I wasn’t quite won over.
Then I saw the play. It’s a fascinating piece of theatre which results in a masterful marriage of style, substance and script. It has to be that way, though, to pull it off. Kudos to Greg Viljoen not only for fashioning this intriguing script, but also seeing Plewman’s (pictured) potential to pull this one off and for allowing us to view him in a totally different light from his Caveman exploits.
The bare essentials are that an actor has been hired to play Hitler following his death, with the hope that the madness behind this nightmare can prolong the Third Reich. Viljoen cunningly plays with the Nazi narcissism which had them believe that they could do anything, which they of course, horrifically did. But that is where the writing so wonderfully subverts the myth as he turns things on their head while telling a story of monumental intrigue and abuse.
Yet setting it in that room of dreams, an actor’s dressing room, this one takes on mythical pro- portions as it all unravels in the Berlin bunker where Hitler and his cohorts spent their last days.
To see Plewman’s persona turned inside out is quite spec- tacular. It is his performance that keeps you breathless from beginning to end as he swings between the ego of the actor (“I’m giving the performance of my life and there’s no one to see it”) and that of a man impersonating the most loathed person on Earth at the time.
He manages to sketch moments of sheer beauty that transcend the banality of the man he has been forced to play with a burlesque turn or two that sweeps you off your feet.
Both director and actor use the “actor” well as they spin a tale so large, yet draw you in quite effort- lessly. It’s the puppetry of the per- formance that has you spinning as Plewman lurches from exuberance to panic, pathos to pleasure in a matter of a goosestep, which he executes in full cabaret mode.
It’s tough to capture without spoiling the experience, but what is exciting is the ingenious script, a story that slithers under your skin, and a performance so fine, it’s enough just to roll with that.
Theatre is nothing if it doesn’t keep surprising with the way stories unfold. The Last Moustache does that as it glances back while commenting on the way power plays with the malicious minds of small people tasked to lead. It’s one that lingers as layers unfold.