Review: Superchop – Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus
REALITY shows – love them or hate them – are today a staple of television channels the world over, but in Liam Magner’s Superchop he takes the format to hysterically funny new places.
The satirical comedy show is the latest production from the multi-award winning Neon Anthems. It is written and performed by Van Heerden and directed by Liam Magner.
The reality show is the brainchild of one Ben Schwenson, a superhero-caped crusader for performers who have been overlooked. Each hopeful contestant does a piece to camera, introducing themselves and their music. Watching these and the reactions of those caught on film are as much fun and watching Van Heerden live on stage.
Superchop makes clever use of these audio visuals by Mark Edwards to give Van Heerden and his four dancers time to change characters and costumes.
First up is Afrikaans singer, Kirk Darren, dressed head to toe in white with tassels and glittery jewels – a Rhinestone Cowboy in the flesh – who is impressed with the lighting and set are by Michael Broderick and Bryan Hiles.
Kirk, we discover, is keen to show that not all Afrikaners are ‘racists, like rugby and are married to their cousins!’ Instead he says they are the people who gave the country biltong and braaivleis … and, errr, umm, apartheid.
Next up is rapping Granny Bevan, who is on a mission to save the souls of South Africa’s misguided youth, warning the audience that Satan’s big ball is going to smash into the planet and destroy the earth in about three weeks time.
Magner makes a cameo in the video for Romeo Pillay, a magician, clairvoyant, mind-reader and psychic, who uses slam poetry to show just how he uses the power of the mind to make a difference. I for one would love to see his claim of turning Parliament into a giant plate of briyani come true!
One of my favourite characters was Donny Gold, a dancer, actor and performance artist who is determined to use his brand of interpretive dance top highlight the plight of the rhino. The sight of Van Heerden in neon pink spandex lying in front of startled pedestrians and shaking his legs in the air is unforgettable.
There is also a clever dig at the excesses of those in power when traditional Zulu storyteller Grace Ndlovu shares her disappointment that despite promises of a new school being built in her area the money has been used to install a firepool at Nkandla.
Grace’s shock and horror at Daily Sun billboards is also worth the price of ticket – particularly when she tells the audience that she had to do a ‘Googley’ search to find out what a karate goat was.
Van Heerden’s final character is multi-martial arts exponent Kevin Grobbelaar, who has some series rage issues and is determined to teach people how to treat sexual predators… all while rapping to music from Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady.
Superchop is an excellent showcase for Van Heerden’s singing, comedy, physical theatre and all-round acting ability – and kudos must go to dancers, Boniwe Majwede, Nadine Oberholzer, Amber Jean Hogg and Kendyll Samantha Plu’g, who perform a range of routines, choregraphed by David Gouldie, while dressed in costumes ranging from cheerleaders to figure-hugging black outfits which Beyonce would be proud to wear.
So folks, get off the couch and head down to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for a five star satirical treat. Just remember to arrive with an open mind and don’t sit too close to the front unless you want to find yourself in the spotlight!
Superchop runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until March 13 with performances at 7.30 pm with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2.30 pm. Tickets available at Computicket .
Did you know? Superchop first previewed at the 2013 Musho! Festival at Catalina Theatre where it won the judges’ vote award for best show.