Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

13 April 2014

South Africa: Theatre Review - Pale, Male and Derailed

analysis

Paul Slabolepszy's early-nineties play Pale Natives captures some of the anxieties of the era's white males, but its delivery is a little disappointing - save for some superb acting by Lionel Newton.

The year 1994 must have been a scary time for white males of a certain age.

People of all colours and all ages were in for some remarkable changes, and the crackle in the air is made palpable by the cast of Pale Natives, a play from that era by Paul Slabolepszy.

The show is part comedy, part tragedy, and mostly sheer desolation as four mid-life crisis characters regroup for a friend's stag party. It's the stereotypical group compilation: the dense one, the smart, successful one, the wishy-washy one and the absolute asshole.

As they try to recapture the carefree days of youth, it's obvious the years have not been kind to them, and they haven't been kind to each other, either.

The music and scenery set the tone nicely, taking us back to the days of privilege, grotty pubs where ill-mannered men left their mark, good songs and bad suits. Happily there's not too much 'going to the dogs' angst being expressed, because the...

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