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Reworked ’Rita’ well worth a night out

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IOL ton may 24 Grieta kry Geleerdheid met Chris van Niekerk en Lulu Botha

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Chris Van Niekerk and Lulu Botha

Grieta Kry Geleerdheid

DIRECTOR: Hennie Van Greunen

CAST: Lulu Botha, Chris Van Niekerk

VENUE: The Artscape Theatre Arena

UNTIL: June 3

RATING: ***

In life we all have things we would like to better about ourselves, regrets we would wish away in an instant – and that all too familiar yearning for more is comically and authentically evoked in Grieta Kry Geleerdheid.

An Afrikaans adaptation of Educating Rita, it has Grieta (Botha) being given a chance to attend Stellenbosch University when it launches its “University for All” initiative. There, she meets professor Frans Brink (Van Niekerk), lover of words and world literature – but serious alcoholic. Together they explore the intricacies of the latest fashion trends – and EM Forster.

Seeing this version, translated into Afrikaans by Hennie van Greunen, proved to be a bit challenging, probably because I’m not that Afrikaans savvy.

To fully appreciate the essence of the play one must have an excellent grasp of the Afrikaans venacular as a lot of the humour is embedded in the idiosyncrasies of “suiwer Afrikaans”.

Nevertheless, this two-hander dramedy can still be followed thanks to the effective performances of both Botha and Van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk delivers an adept performance of a disillusioned middle-aged man unable to reach his true potential, while Botha transforms Grieta from a flighty ditz into a sophisticated confident woman.

The cleverly-retitled Grieta Kry Geleerdheid is well worth the trip to the theatre – a contemplative piece in which the characters emerge transformed by curtain call.


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