Nando’s Comedy Festival, by Hunta Live and DSTV. Starring L Pablo Francisco, Greg Behrendt, Mark Eddie, Michael Loftus, Dan Cummins, Ndumiso Lindi, Lindzy Msimang and Carl Weber. at The Artscape until 14 August at 19h30. ASTRID STARK reviews
The annual comedy festival’s Cape Town leg opened up to a packed auditorium rumbling with laughter. It has already toured through Durban and Johannesburg. It seems as if you can’t really go wrong with comedy in Cape Town. We just love to laugh and this festival allows us the opportunity to see a few great international acts as well as a handful of our own home-brewed talent.
Mark Eddie is the MC for the evening and he approaches his position a little differently to what is normally expected. Armed with an acoustic guitar he belts out old classic rock songs, in-between rapid-fire, and spot-on, impersonations of musicians such as Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash. He also delivers brilliantly conceived mash-ups of old classic songs and more modern offerings such as Red Chili Peppers and Shaggy. His rendition of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is hilarious and clever. He is enjoying himself so much on stage that it seems at times that he forgets that he is MC. This little transgression is soon lost within his charm and obvious talent; he has opened for Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge & Toad the Wet Sprocket, among others. From Thursday onwards Mark Eddie will be replaced with our own Loyiso Gola.
The international comedians deliver, for the most part, well-polished and experienced performances, but for me it is our local guys who are radiant with the delivery and originality of their material. In particular; Ndumiso Lindi. He is just such a hot act right now. He is from the Eastern Cape and brings an endearing authenticity with him. His material sounds fresh and has a kind of, ‘do no harm’ quality about it. He approaches the usual cultural and colour differences, which is stock standard fodder for our local comedians, from a slightly different angle, producing shameless giggles which gives you a bit of a fuzzy patriotic feeling in the heart. His interpretation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing and singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is skilful and more than likely very accurate. He also has a beautiful voice. Lindzy Msimang is the only female act and she is a talented firebrand. It felt as if her act was just heating-up; and then it ended.
Dan Cummins is one of the international acts that stood out on the evening. His material is risqué, not at all politically correct, and often downright bizarre, which is refreshing. He targets panda hugging hippies suggesting we should simply take out the overweight lot since they are going to die anyway; but he makes it sound funny and logical, even to a huge animal lover like me. He has offers some quirky observations on South African life when he comments; ‘South Africa has taken the convenient store concept to the streets; where it belongs’. And he calls the traffic light vendors a ‘roaming fleamarket’. His imagination of a creature called a Squirreldor, a mixture between a squirrel and a labrador, is uproarious. His material and his delivery of it made some of the international acts look and sound a bit bland. Michael Loftus’s impersonation of Nelson Mandela’s voice is not only bad but also in bad taste. Please just don’t do it. As with most international acts he seems to have done a quick survey of our vernacular and came up with this gem, ‘lekker’, which he uses repeatedly.
L Pablo Francisco as the main attraction does not disappoint. He is all over the place; in a good way. He does a crazy and masterful impersonation of a trance disc jockey. His moonwalk is flawless and he rips apart the capricious pop culture with his well-contemplated sketches. His rendition of an action movie narrator is spot-on. He morphs into Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tortilla vendor and the results are outrageously entertaining. His act, which is over way too soon, is a super-charged blast of energy. Although I have heard rumbles afterwards that he offered very little in the way of new material. Still, if it is the first time you see him, it will be a blast.
The multiple offerings from across many cultures and countries will ensure that there are more than enough giggles for everyone.
*Tickets are R150 to R200. And can be booked through http://www.computicket.com