The Mercury

Mix of amusement and dark drama

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Stage LOVE SEX FLEAS GOD Seabrooke’s Theatre, Durban High School Review: Billy Suter

THIS enigmatica­lly and clumsily titled new one-man play performed by seasoned Cape actor David Muller – better known locally for two solo shows in which he played Oom Schalk Lourens, relating tales associated with Herman Charles Bosman – holds attention but fails to slip neatly into a box when it comes to categorisa­tion.

It constantly has Muller – now without the familiar pipe, velskoens and beard as Lourens – morphing, sometimes awkwardly so, between moments of warmth and amusement, and dark drama, some of it jarring.

His production relates a story inspired by the successful, part-fictional, part-autobiogra­phical book by Bruce Clark, Love Sex Fleas God (Confession­s of a Stay-At- Home Dad).

Muller and his director, Celia Musikanth, created the play which, unfolding on a stage bare but for a scattering of toys and pinnedup drawings by children, continuall­y flashes forwards and backwards in time to relate Bruce’s story.

It is a tale of a highly traumatic childhood of neglect and poverty then, finally, Bruce’s contentmen­t in a loving marriage with children when in his late-40s.

We learn of Bruce’s selfish mother having abandoned him to be raised by his poor Scottish-Italian grandmothe­r. His mother left the country to find a number of husbands over the years, and became increasing­ly passionate about Scientolog­y, L Ron Hubbard being an icon of note in the household where a dog was Bruce’s best friend.

After being expelled from 15 different schools, struggling with life on the road as a teenage hobo and having to contend with lecherous relatives and general hardships, Bruce eventually met a woman, found love and discovered a contentmen­t in fatherhood, having a son and daughter.

All this and more is covered in Muller’s tale which, unfolding without an intermissi­on, has him taking on the many characters who populate Bruce’s life events.

It’s an engaging tale about overcoming adversity when all looks bleak, and sketches many moments of despair, frustratio­n and defeat, but ultimately focuses on optimism and ends on a positive note.

Muller gives a good performanc­e in a production which, having previewed in Cape Town shortly before the short Durban season, is scheduled to return to the Mother City in February.

Performanc­es at the Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS are at 7pm until Saturday.

Tickets cost R100 each (R70 for students and senior citizens).

 ??  ?? David Muller as Bruce in Love Sex Fleas God, in Durban until Saturday.
David Muller as Bruce in Love Sex Fleas God, in Durban until Saturday.

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