As everyone looks forward to the festive break, they are choosing to unwind in different ways. So if you are not in the mood for a party, I would suggest taking in a comedy show.
At the moment, “Otis by Schalk Bezuidenhout” has audiences jumping with excitement. After successful runs in Cape Town and Durban, Joburg has a chance to catch the show at the Theatre on the Square for a limited run.
I caught up with Bezuidenhout shortly after his Durban trip.
He said: “What’s fun about the show for me is that I, on purpose, didn’t say much about the show in the description on Computicket and Quicket.”
“It just says, have you ever wondered what your dog was thinking? Well, now you don’t have to. ‘Otis’ is a show by Schalk Bezuidenhout and his dog Otis. So a lot of people have no clue what they are walking into,” he laughed.
The comedian added: “A lot of people wonder what their dog is thinking. And obviously, I’m a stand-up comedian and I thought to myself, ‘What if Otis could do stand-up comedy, what are the things in his life he would make fun of? What are the jokes he would write?’
“Normally as a stand-up comedian, you are talking about your life.
“You get married, then your next show you have some material about your marriage, you have a kid and then your next show will probably be a lot of material about having a newborn.
“It’s a show by my dog and he talks about stuff that is relevant in his life.”
Those that follow Bezuidenhout, who recently opened for Trevor Noah on his recent SA tour, on social media know that he is crazy about his dogs, Otis and Finn.
When the idea popped into his head, he did a few test shows.
He said: “ I’m quite obsessed with my dogs Otis and Finn. They are just, in general, always on my mind. Normally, I would do a few test shows and make a few notes.
“Those test shows are very loose, I sell tickets super cheap and advertise it as a work-in-progress show, and a lot of the material, I’m still reading off notes.
“It’s, literally, just to see if it's an idea that I find funny or if there is something there.”
Show aside, he’s got a busy international calendar for 2024.
Bezuidenhout pointed out: “Going into 2024, lots of international travel next year. I started a few years ago, going to London every year.
“And with these international territories, you are coming in as a total newbie and you have to start again from scratch, which is a very humbling experience just when you think you are now someone.
“You have to realise you are someone in your home country and I’m no one in another country. You have to start doing the work all over again. But it’s cool, it keeps you hustling, keeps you going.
“So I started a few years ago going to London. But the progress is slow. One year you go, you do three shows in a small venue and then the next year, two shows in a slightly bigger venue and then the following year, you do five shows in a bigger venue, to the point where, this year, I not only did London but also a few dates around the UK.
“Next year, aside from doing a 700-seater in London, I’m also doing a month-long tour all over the UK, going to some places I've been like Birmingham and Bristol, to places I’ve never been like Cardiff, Wales, Glasgow, Dublin and Leeds and all kinds of places.
On whether he has any acting gigs lined up as well, he said: “The challenge with the international stuff being booked so far in advance (my UK tour is already on sale for October and Australia is going on sale for March, April and May) is that with acting, it doesn’t confirm that far in advance.
“But whenever there is some sort of acting opportunity, I always try and block it off in my diary.
“There is an Afrikaans series on kykNET, ‘Taktiek’, which is getting great feedback. There is definitely a season two in the pipeline.”
If you don’t get any tickets to this show, he will probably do more in 2024 given the fabulous reception it has received so far.
Where: Theatre on the Square.
When: The show is currently on until December 9 and runs at 7pm.
Cost: Tickets cost R200 and can be purchased through Computicket.
OTHER SHOWS WORTH SEEING
“The Soweto Central Chorus and Friends”
Embarking on a musical evolution, the Soweto Central Chorus curates an electrifying showcase with an A-list lineup, including the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Renowned for their enchanting Isichathamiya style and winner of multiple awards, including five Grammy Awards dedicated to Nelson Mandela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo promises to headline an unforgettable night.
Joining this symphony of talent are luminaries such as the versatile Khaya Mthethwa, Afro-pop sensation Azana, the incomparable Manu Worldstar, the esteemed Kekelingo of the Muffinz and the homegrown sensation, Thando Zide. All these artists will share the stage with the Soweto Central Chorus.
It’s more than just a concert, this is a celebration of evolution, integration, and connection - a sonic tapestry weaving through genres from Isichathamiya to Afrobeats, uniting hearts through spirituality.
Where: Rhema Bible Church North, Hans Schoeman St, Bromhof.
When: December 8 at 7.30pm.
Cost: Tickets cost R300 and can be purchased from Webtickets.
“A Christmas Carol”
There are plenty of stage productions helping us get into the festive spirit. One such production is “A Christmas Carol”, which has become a regular feature on the theatre calendar around this time every year.
And the adaptation of Charles Dickens's timeless story is perfect for the entire family.
For the Joburg run, William Harding (“Daryn’s Gym”) slips into the skin of Scrooge while Taylor Salgado takes on the mammoth task of breathing life into several supporting characters.
Where: Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre.
When: Currently on until December 10 at 7pm.
Cost: Tickets range from R150 to R230 and can be purchased via Webtickets.
“The Terrified Talabalushi”
A theatre piece with music for children, directed by award-winning Omphile Molusi and composed by the multi-talented Volley Nchabeleng.
Set in the Knysna forest, the protagonist is Tokkie, a terrified young Talabalushi. Tokkie’s family have reached their wits’ end because their youngest, Tokkie, is terrified of everything, but mostly he is terrified of the light.
This means that he can’t go out scaring, which is what he is meant to do.
Most people don’t know what Talabalushis are, which isn’t surprising – they are very secretive and are only active after sunset.
A Talabalushi is a small, Southern African, mischievous creature, a combination of a goblin, a spirit, and a tree creature found in the unseen side of South African forests, and sometimes even closer to our villages, towns, and cities.
This production promises to be an excellent way to explore the emotions of fear in a safe and entertaining way.
Where: The Market Theatre.
When: Currently on until December 17 at 11am.
Tickets: R150 from Webtickets.