Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

21 April 2014

South Africa: Theatre Review - It's Monkey Business, but You'll Love It

analysis

There is something quite exquisite in the way Matthew Ribnick serves up Monkey Nuts. It's another of those one-man shows where the actor plays a variety of characters, but Ribnick does it so well that he should be collecting several salaries.

Everything about Ribnick changes as he morphs into another character, quickly adapting his stance, expression, accent and attitude.

The sheer pleasure of watching such a master of the art is only part of the reason why Monkey Nuts is such a scream. All that talent would be wasted if the plot wasn't equally wonderful.

Comic playwright Geraldine Naidoo has created some ludicrous characters and woven them into an ingenious story where the laughs hit you fast and furiously.

It starts normally enough, with a sad, nerdy bank teller who has no friends, except for the monkey who lives in the local petshop.

For a while I think I'm in for a tragedy, as Edgar the misfit finds his only pleasure from entering competitions and obsessively comparing prices in the supermarkets. Then there's a giggle, followed by a chuckle, as you realise that Ribnick and Naidoo like and respect this man they have created and are about...

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