If the title of the latest Mike Van Graan play has you humming a cell block tango, you are excused for being accurately presumptuous, as it strongly plays on that CHICAGO hit while reimagining the power of that tango as an anthem for the women of South Africa who live with the constant am-I-next fear of the GBV pandemic: So undoubtedly HE HAD IT COMING hits, jabs, punches, and crushes all the right toxic masculinity notes in its current run at the Baxter.
With HE HAD IT COMING, Van Graan again teams up with Daniel Mpilo Richards. However, this time Richards is empowering a new young voice as he passes on the physical theatre satirical skills (he honed with the help of Van Graan in plays such as BRING BACK THE CURRY) by directing the charming young performer, Kim Blanche Adonis.
That Adonis has stage presence, and talent to match is an undisputed fact. She does not miss a beat as she guides the audience through the revolving political commentary presented as a collection of sketches, poetry, and songs. The direction is reflected in every considered move and pause she makes and takes.
The text is as clear and focused. You would be able to spot this play as penned by Van Graan even if the writer was anonymous: You would be able to pinpoint his quintessential pithy political swipes (mainly at misguided and corrupt politicians as the enemy of the people) as it weaves through the show.
Even though HE HAD IT COMING is manifestly a genre piece that carries all the characteristics of political satire, it does not have any subversive messaging to talk of in taking a dig at politics for the entertainment of the people. But when dealing with the issue of GBV and the scars it's leaving on the soul of South Africa there is no space for a subversive layered approach. If you are going to take an artistic stand against this topic you may as well do it while taking a sledgehammer to a nut and pulverising it to a pulp with the force the scourge at the core of it deserves. So is it all a bit on the nose? Yes. Should it be? Hell yes.
What is refreshing about addressing issues of GBV through political satire is that it makes the topic digestible to audience members. It softens the trauma of its associated triggers with humor in such a manner that it brings relief long enough for the audience to stare political lack-of-action squarely in the face and give it the sardonic f*ck-you sign that it deserves.
HE HAD IT COMING is an invitation to the people of South Africa, more importantly, the women at the heart of our nation, to take their power and voice back.
You only have until 10 December 2022 to see HE HAD IT COMING at the Baxter, so don't forget to book your well-worth-it tickets today online via Webtickets.
Please note that the show is recommended for audience 16 years and older but parents can decide what is suitable for viewers younger than 16. Audience members under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.