Style that still lets the bride shine...
ADAPT OR FLY
PERFORMER/WRITER: Pieter-Dirk Uys
VENUE: Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre
Until: November 13
From the darkness of his first one-man show in 1982, Adapt or Dye, to the dazzling kaleidoscope of rainbow colours in this 2013 show, Adapt or Fly.
That’s the way the master of mockery describes his show, with politicians of the particular time providing the titles – as they always have done and sadly still do. Just as he thought he wouldn’t have a voice any longer – things were good and free, everything we longed for was finally here – history came home to play and the game is on.
That’s the thing about Uys, he doesn’t miss a beat. He checks the pulse of the nation, listens to his conscience as he always has, steps up to the challenge – and lets rip. Through the years he has refined the way he speaks his mind on things that matter most and he tells it exactly as it is – no ducking or diving.
It’s all about entertainment as he holds the laughter from beginning to end while twisting the dagger deftly and slyly to never dim the truth. Nothing escapes his gaze as he trips the times horrific from the early days of apartheid, rolling from one prime minister to the next by donning the ubiquitous hat and rearranging the squint to suit a particular politician, which he embodies perfectly.
It’s to the manner born and as he runs through a familiar spectrum, one is reminded of the way he side- stepped the security police and all the shenanigans to say what he came to say at a time when too few were willing to speak out.
He’s still out there doing it with a chorus of characters that keep growing.
It’s the combination of the dazzling delivery and the spectacular script, in the looking back to remind us of the horror that was and the future which we have to safeguard, that he comes up time and again with something that has a particular format but is kept fresh as he adapts to the rhetoric of the day. And I mean day.
One doesn’t want to spoil the evening by sharing too much because part of the Uys longevity has to do with the way he captures the moment.
He has a deep love for his country and its people. He believes they will win the day and he’s standing up, speaking his mind in a way that holds their attention, makes them scream with laughter as the memories good and bad roll by, but also puts it into context lest anyone forgets where we have been and where we should be going.
Thirty years on, he has gained in experience and weathered all the storms. Many of those he has stood in front of a mirror for all to see are long gone. Others have slipped into their shady shoes. But look, he is still here, shouting as loudly as he did through the worst year and making us laugh.
Always the clown, he pulls a face, cackles with delight and struts his stuff while shining a searing light on people who should be paying attention to what they struggled for. It’s the perfect storm as you rock with laughter while reaching for the hanky to hide that pesky tear.