Finding your station in life
IT’S HOLIDAY time and invariably, whether you are on a day trip or full-on vacation, there are bungles. Someone forgets the egg mayo sandwiches at home. The passports have expired.
Christo Davids has used the interactions of two men who miss their train to Joburg as the setting for his delicious comedy, Platform 9. Davids directs the two- hander, which is performed by soapie stars Maurice Paige and Theodore Jantjies.
Jantjies plays a chef and Paige an aspirant rapper. As they sit, contemplating their options, they interact with a mix of characters who stroll on to the platform, including a hawker, a pastor and Luvvie – a guy in a pink tutu, who is on his way to Joburg to pursue his dream of becoming a ballerina.
There’s singing and some awesome dance moves. Platform 9 is mostly performed in Afrikaans but there is some English.
On the night I attended, the audience went wild. It was like a rock concert. Paige ( Calvin in Isidingo) and Jantjies (Xander in 7de Laan) are huge TV stars and it’s strange to sees them prancing around and morphing into their characters.
Davids said the response had been rapturous. “I wrote the show 18 months ago and we’ve had two successful runs at the Joburg Theatre and Port Elizabeth Opera House as well as at Aardklop, the KKNK and other festivals. Now we have come home.”
It is very much a homecoming for Davids, Paige and Jantjies, who grew up in Heidelberg near Mossel Bay.
“The three of us have been living in Joburg for six years and we decided, ‘Let’s do something.’ Maurice and Theo have both been on the sexiest men lists. I’ve never been on that list. That’s why I have to use my brain,” he said.
Indeed, Davids has a law degree on his illustrious CV and in addition to his award-winning theatre work, he plays Errol in 7de Laan.
With Platform 9, he said, he wanted to celebrate Cape Town and its people. “It’s a come-and-laugh show.”
As to what happens next to these two blokes in Joburg, the next instalment, Platform 9: Park Station opens at the end of next month at the Suideoosterfees.
It’s been a hectic festival season for Davids. As well as directing Platform 9, he is performing in Lara Foot’s superb Scrooge, which is at the Baxter until January 25 and stars Marc Lottering, Shaleen Surtie- Richards and Andrew Buckland.
A big shout out to the Baxter for assembling a dazzling festive lineup. There are four other shows on at the moment: Nik Rabinowitz (stand-up comedy), My Word! (tribute to Richard Rive), Wrongly Accused (comedy) and Hansel and Gretel (children’s theatre). Each is a gem.
The foyer is dolled up with decorations and there’s soul food and good coffee on offer at the Baxter Restaurant, run by Theresa Peters. On New Year’s Eve, shows start later than usual and afterwards there will be sparkling wine/orange juice, entertainment, a balloon drop and a countdown in the foyer.
It’s been a wonderful year of theatre with potent pieces telling stories of South Africans, such as: My Word!; Woman in Waiting, Thembi Mtshali’s journey from domestic worker to international star of stage and screen; and Hayani ( Venda for home), in which Atandwa Kani ( son of John) and Nat Ramabulana explored what home means to them and their memories of growing up in this country.
My pick for new South African play of the year goes to Civil Parting, Nicholas Spagnoletti’s relationship comedy about the break-up of a marriage of two men.
● Platform 9 is at the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio until January 25. Tickets are R100 and R180 on New Year’s Eve. Book through Computicket on 0861 915 8000.
TWO-HANDER: Theodore Jantjies and Maurice Paige in Platform 9.