Fifteen years is a long time for a production to run – to reinvent itself, attract a new audience and still keep loyal fans happy… Jou Barber VI - Life ,starring David Isaacs and Oscar Petersen as themselves and their well-known characters, not only manages to achieve this but somehow surpasses all expectations too!
I first fell in love with the comical tale of the two local barbers Boeta Joe, played by Petersen and Boeta Gamat, played by Isaacs in 2002, during the run of Joe Barber and Boeta Gamat Too at the now-defunct Warehouse Theatre. As a teenager, I was struck by these comedians’ intrinsic take on their local Cape Coloured community, managing to poke fun while simultaneously bringing to life those uncles from the “hood” that everyone knows and loves, even if we find them annoying. Over a decade later, this perception still holds true, even more so as the actors have matured and settled into their roles.
The duo have a phenomenal chemistry and play off each other so well, no matter which pair of characters ( in addition to Joe and Gamat, there’s the outspoken Washiela; imposing Valerie and, my personal favourite, rough –around-the-edges but lovable Outjie) they’re portraying, it’s difficult not to be drawn into their hilarious and heartwarming unfolding tale.
This time around, Boeta Joe is trying to keep the peace between his ex Valerie and Boeta Gamat as they compete for the Community Life Awards, sponsored by real life benefactors Die Son and Heart 104.9FM.
From the now familiar opening Joe Barber number to the classic character sayings - “Nou, waar Moegamat?” and “ Sy’s ‘n goefel, ek se” to the much-loved audience participation as some poor volunteer gets his turn in the barber chair, Joe Barber VI , once again directed by Heinrich Reisenhofe, is a welcome return to all that is loved and known about our favourite barbers .
It’s comforting to be able to slip back into their lives quite seamlessly but surely a wonderful journey of discovery for newcomers too.I’ve grown up with these characters and I’m thrilled at the prospect of a new generation being able to do the same. As the song goes: “Dus my barber, dus amal se barber, dus Joe Barber!”
On opening night, the Baxter Theatre was one of the casualties of Eskom’s scheduled blackouts but kudos must be given to the amazing Fahiem Stellenboom and his team for keeping things on course – as they say: “ the show must go on!”
Joe Barber VI - Life runs at the Baxter Theatre until 10 January, 2015. Tickets are available at Computicket.
Scene It by Fazielah Williams.