THEATRE REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Bambi

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IOL Bambi Pieter Dirk Uys as Bambi

FIFTY SHADES OF BAMBI

PERFORMER: Bambi Kellerman (aka Pieter Dirk Uys)

MUSICIAN: Godfrey Johnson

VENUE: Sandton’s Auto and General Theatre on the Square

UNTIL March 16

RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)

Diane de Beer

It’s the day-to-day political onslaught that the artist hopes to counteract. And it’s even more heavy-handed than usual because of the looming election.

Take it away Bambi, he seems to say, and she does as she launches into her own politics – sex. Let’s talk, she says as she flaunts her promiscuous lifestyle yet wanders through the innocence of youth which is often extremely dangerous because of the silence that surrounds their lives.

“Speak to the children,” she warns. They need to know and if you don’t someone else will.

Then Bambi gets down low and dirty, speaks her mind to show how it’s done and says with pride that she’s experienced everything – twice. But Bambi is no ordinary tannie. And she’s got the accent to prove it as she launches into song.

“I know I can’t sing,” she says but her pianist, Godfrey Johnson persuaded her that it is the best way to tell stories. In typical cabaret style they draw on Kurt Weill and Gershwin as well as Bambi’s roots with Al Ry die Boere Sit Sit So which she turns hysterically into her own rhymes of reason – delightfully so. These old Afrikaans folk songs are ripe for the picking and Uys willingly complies.

It is the artist at work that draws you in. And even as she waffles too long every once in a while, she constantly catches you off guard with her sharp wit which turns a mild-mannered phrase into something completely different.

Thinking on her feet whether they’re clumsy crocs or sassy stilettos, is Bambi and her creator’s motto. To speak their minds, whatever subject they’re tackling, that’s the credo. They don’t really care whether it’s drugs, sex and rock ’n roll or what life holds. “Is that all it is?”

There’s silly and there’s serious and Bambi does both as she talks about condoms and vaginas, female contraception and the apartheid between children and parents. “It’s back,” says Bambi sadly.

But she’s trying to change that with free speech. We still have that and she won’t spend the night in jail, she concedes. And that is the huge difference. but she has a wagging finger warning: “Don’t take it for granted!”

But if you’re pulling out your hair because the politics are so overwhelming, the silly stuff dominates as Bambi tells of her life and her loves and even her long deceased husband who still accompanies her as an accessory even if she sometimes thinks of leaving him behind.

What you’re seeing is not only Fifty Shades of Bambi but rather Fifty Shades of PDU, an artist who knows how to speak to the hearts of his audience. And this time he does it in both stilettos and song.


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