Two people meet at an industry event, share a laugh at the bar, and go to bed together. What could possibly go wrong? If you’ve ever seen a play by Louis Viljoen, your money should be on ‘a lot’.
Beth (Emily Child) and Fred (Nicholas Pauling) are in advertising —‘artistically-minded purveyors of taste’, as Fred puts it sardonically; hucksters of the highest order. Both characters are aware of the apparent ignobility of their chosen careers where the truth doesn’t seem to matter and it’s all about changing minds and shaping opinions.
The hucksters spend their professional lives selling people things they didn’t know they wanted, and they spend the duration of this play selling the audience different versions of a past event only one of them has any real knowledge of.
Pauling’s Fred is every insufferably preppy guy you knew at university, but fifteen years older and much less convinced of his own cleverness. Child’s Beth is a self-aware walking disaster with a talent for agony-inducing honesty.
Niall Griffin’s tasteful production design provides the perfect visual backdrop against which to ponder cycles of abuse, whether ‘true’ victimhood is only reserved for good people, and how it’s somehow more of a grey area when terrible things happen to terrible people. Don’t let the limited run pass you by.
See THE HUCKSTERS for a blistering look at what happens when one of the boys runs into someone he used to think of as a ‘vindictive woman’ and gets involved in a tug-of-war for his conscience.
THE HUCKSTERS is at The Baxter Golden Arrow Studio until 1 February 2020. Tickets are available at webtickets.co.za.