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PRESS: Things are heating up with THE SIN DRINKERS at the Baxter's Masambe Theatre


Louis Viljoen’s new play THE SIN DRINKERS premiered at the Baxter Theatre’s Masambe on 23 April 2024, and has kept audiences on the edge of their seats as they meet two characters in search of redemption.

The story that unfolds concerns Frank (John Maytham), a practiced booze-hound and finder of people, who tracks down his late daughter’s chillingly guarded friend, Theresa (Emma Kotze), in an attempt to vanquish personal demons he has tried and failed to silence with drink. What ensues is a test of spirits and alcohol aptitude as they match each other sin-for-sin and drink-for-drink whilst trying to figure out if indifferent strangers can unburden each other of their transgressions. It has been described as akin to a confessional, where whiskey temporarily soothes souls and loosens tongues.

This stand-off of wills is explored in a noir style of theatre, where the darkly comic drama reflects on the murky depths of humanity against the stark set designed by Kieran McGregor.

Audiences and critics alike have praised THE SIN DRINKERS:

“‘A vivid piece of confrontational theatre’ best describes this latest two-hander penned by the ever-inventive Louis Viljoen… a highly-charged drama, gripping, challenging and rewarding in equal measure… Kieran McGregor's pristine, all-white set provides an ironic context for the dark conversation and even darker admissions about to take place… Maytham and Kotze's ensemble is impeccable as they deftly navigate the shift in tone and emotional intensity of their extended conversation… Watching the evolution of this drama is akin to viewing the cut-and-thrust of a fencing match… Existential theatre did not end with Sartre's IN CAMERA: its tradition lives on in this highly intelligent, 21st century exploration of humanity.” - Beverley Brommert (Theatre Scene Cape Town)

“Viljoen… pulls you to the deepest darkest part of humanity, but like an addict who can’t resist the next sip or puff, you always go back for more.” – Mariana Malan (Netwerk24)

“I love the brutal force of Viljoen’s frequently violent language, his ability to turn poetry into weapons that leave a sting… cleverly crafted snatches of dialogue bounced back and forth with a deliberate, metronomic rhythm… Viljoen’s heightened language and the charged atmosphere it creates alter what we’re observing into a form of ritual… what’s being said serves a purpose greater than the mere sharing of information.” - Keith Bain (Daily Maverick)

“Dark, twisted and uncomfortable. John Maytham and Emma Kotze are never less than riveting” - Rebecca Davis (Investigative Journalist)

“… be traumatised while simultaneously being thrilled by a thing of beauty… it’s a play that brims with exceptional dialogue from first line to last, delivered in Viljoen’s distinctive directorial style… the imagery brought vividly to life." - Bianca Coleman (Eat, Play, Drink)

“…design by Kieran McGregor cloaks the scene of the sin drinkers in the gloaming glare of disclosure, with a reveal which is shocking but conjured up by light, sound and suggestion, rather than graphic portrayal… darkly beguiling drama… a poignant cautionary tale… superb script, performances, direction and design… Viljoen’s writing is urgent, reeking with pain in this intensely beautiful play of two damaged people… superb performances by Maytham and Kotze.” - Robyn Cohen (The Cape Robyn)

“Probably the most intense, gripping theatre production I've ever seen… Funny, tragic, relevant and enthralling, whilst addressing some very tough subjects. A super production, as sharp a script as could be, and actually competing performances by John and Emma.” - John Dobson (DHL Stormers Coach)

“I love seeing Louis Viljoen’s work because it throws me into worlds I have no business being in. It’s niche and funny and vulgar and strange and entertaining and you gasp and turn your head to the side every now and then, but the text has you in a headlock until the end when you exhale … wonderful weirdness.” Tankiso Mamabolo (Singer, Songwriter and Performer)

“I didn’t know watching two hurt, broken people wade through an entire bottle of whisky in an hour could be this enthralling.” - Maria Kearns (Writer and Performer)

“A MASTERPIECE in the craft of play writing, direction and performance. In a small theatre it is electrifying to be up close to the blood curling intensity of the performances of John Maytham and Emma Kotze.”- Brian van Rheede (Theatre Enthusiast)

“…provocative… masterpiece… Played with precision by John Maytham and Emma Kotze… excellent, controlled performances… unexpected emotions, unleashed… deserved to be seen.” - Beryl Eichenberger (Theatre Enthusiast)

The haunting tale at the centre of Frank and Theresa’s encounter in THE SIN DRINKERS may not be for the marginally sensitive or the easily offended, but it promises to move and surprise you as they reveal their dark and dangerous secrets. Will their journey lead them to a point of redemption or are they forever doomed to pour another drink to soothe their scarred souls?

THE SIN DRINKERS will be onstage at the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Masambe Theatre until 11 May 2024. It carries an age restriction of 18 for explicit language and scenes of a sexual nature. Tickets are available online through Webtickets and range from R130 to R170 per person.

Production: The Sin Drinkers

Written and directed by Louis Viljoen

Performed by John Maytham and Emma Kotze

Designed by Kieran McGregor

Dates: Until 11 May 2024        

Venue: Masambe Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre

Tickets: R130 – R170

Bookings: Webtickets


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