Kleedkamer-Blues, written by Ludwig Binge and directed by Marthinus Basson, gives audiences a witty dramady look behind the festival scenes as actors prepare for their final performance if an Afrikaans protest theatre adaptation of Waiting for Godot.
Anyone who has every had any kind of interaction with the theatre festival circuit (be it as actor, writer, producer, tech-team, reviewer, or panel) will appreciate the backstage scenarios that fuel the dark comedy and epic rants as the drama unfolds in Kleedkamer-Blues.
As a show it gives space for its stellar cast (Carel Trichardt, De Klerk Oelofse, Wessel Pretorius, Greta Pietersen and Ludwig Binge) to play to their strengths. The text is cleverly constructed to balance out the dramatic with hilarious over-the-top moments. The tension of the obstacles the performers face, from career crisis to unrequited love, never become too heavy, while still remaining appropriately weighty in undertone and theme.
Trichardt and Oelofse bring a vulnerability to the stage that make their interactions particularly endearing, with Trichardt's monologues captivating with heartfelt delivery. Pietersen is a dynamic presence in this ensemble with Binge's blues presence holding the theme of the production together. However, the award for most epic Kleedkamer-Blues moment (and rant) must go to Wessel Pretorius for his boisterous lament of the trials and tribulation of performers who put their hearts and souls on display on sometimes unforgiving festival stages. Binges text gives Pretorius some true gems to play with in a manner that stays true to his captivating performance style.
Here's hoping that Kleedkamer-Blues has a post Woordfees run in Cape Town, as we enjoyed every side-swipe, come back, sarcastic jab and heartfelt rant regarding festival stereotypes on display in this play.