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SCENE IT: 'WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET?', an ode to friendship

Barbara Loots


Daniel Richards and Tankiso Mamabolo's WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET? is currently providing audiences at the Baxter Theatre with a respite to the aftermath of Covid as viewed through the eyes of friendship reflected in their shared love of music. 

I write this review as I sit sipping on the juice of a rather large "export quality" orange from Daniel Richards' family farm. As an orange of this calibre was a gift to every member of the audience on Tuesday night, I don't regard it as a bribe, but rather just as a nice treat as we are all on a budget these days, and gifted fruit is much welcomed.


Just as welcome is a theatre night out watching Richards and Tankiso Mamabolo in their latest (and for now last) show together, WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET?


Although billed as a show filled with music and banter reflecting on a friendship of two performers struggling their way through the industry, it's rather less about industry budget and more about friendship currency and what the latter has brought to their lives over the last ten years. That reflection is set against the impending immigration of Richards to the UK to join his British wife, Daisy, because he's "in love" - to which Mamabolo constantly quips, "no one cares, Daniel" because, in fact, she cares a lot.


And that "no one cares" tongue-in-cheek banter is at the core of the show in tone and temperament as the duo deals with the rather deep topic of loss and love (all somewhat Covid contextualised) in a way that helps them cope with it emotionally.


As a whole, WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET? feels a bit like witnessing a lovely chat in someone's lounge (or perhaps at a party) between two people in an intimate group setting, singing segues throughout the sharing of various nostalgic friendship memories.


That the two have a really deep bond is very clear and it is greatly reflected in the way they communicate and understand each other through their musical harmonization. I was left wondering though if the show would resonate as greatly with audiences that don't know one or both of the two performers (or just a bit of their back story) to some degree, as a lot of the quips and jokes that solicited the loudest reaction was from friends and family on the night we saw it.


But regardless of that very personal inside-joke aspect of the show, the rapport between Mamabolo and Richards is undeniably entertaining and the music deeply moving (especially if you have recently lost love or a loved one) ...take tissues.


WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET? is a witty not-farewell but rather a see-you-later homage to friendship. It's on at the Baxter Theatre until 15 October 2022, with tickets available online through Webtickets.


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