THEATRE REVIEW: The Wild

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IOL Wild Robert Fridjohn

tHE wild

Director: Alan Committie

Cast: Robert Fridjhon

Venue: Montecasino Theatre

Until: August 3

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Helen Herimbi

Grant is a marketer who is jaded by the daily “migration” to and from a job he hates. He sits in traffic. He does his time in an office that turns him into a prisoner for eight hours. He hits the pub for one drink – yeah, right. He argues with his girlfriend. He sits in traffic again on his way home.

And repeat.

Grant wants to be free. But it is only when he is attacked by a lion while at his office party which is held at a strip club – go with it – that he starts to unshackle himself.

Over an hour, Fridjhon (pictured) ignores the fourth wall and tells his tale directly to the audience. Using nothing more than three black bar stools as props and a flashing exit sign above a door, Fridjhon’s style has a stripped-down approach that relies more on tell rather than show.

And this mostly works for him. He’s excellent at doing impressions of animals, all while subtly inserting fun facts about them into the mix. For instance, did you know that giraffes don’t have vocal cords? Don’t Wikipedia that! Anyway, the story Fridjhon tells as Grant is an interesting one and even has a moral to it.

The parts of this style that don’t work are minimal. First, the show is directed by Alan Committie who has a signature style of speaking really fast – especially when he does the word associations to come to conclusions.

This kind of wit spills over into how the show is directed. At times, Fridjhon speaks so fast that some anecdotes slip through the cracks. And then, after reliving a scenario, Fridjhon turns to the audience to say: let me start again.

The first three times that he asks to start again – which means he stops the story he’s telling, moves quickly to another one and we never really come back to the old one – is actually funny. But after that, the plot begins to get muddy.

A saving grace of the show comes in the form of Fridjhon’s witty – and sometimes cheesy – lines. For instance, he tells us that he always wanted to be a doctor, but then he realised he could only do little – insert drum crash here.

He also unpacks the annoying first phase of relationships where the first kiss is awkward and no one has reached the point where they can sit on the toilet with the door open. This was met with plenty of laughter.

What’s also pretty cool is that some of the references in the play are from Fridjhon’s real life, during which he has spent a lot of time with lions.

Some of the proceeds of this show will go to the Jane Goodall Institute of South Africa. He only shares these facts once the spotlight has dimmed and the show is over, though.

Wild is a fun ride – if you can stomach the “let me start again” bits – that has a humorous outlook on life.


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