The comic team that brought us Boeing-Boeing and Perfect Wedding have come out with another hit comedy in Funny Business, showing at Cape Town's Theatre on the Bay until 9 June, 2012.
Written by Derek Benfield and directed by Alan Swerdlow, Funny Business takes place in an "unfashionable hotel" in the outskirts of London. It's there that we meet Ferris, the acting manager who wants nothing more than a nap on the couch. But there's no time for that. Guests keep arriving, identities keep getting mistaken, and understandings keep getting, um, misunderstood. If that sounds like the recipe for some farcical fun, you're right.
But there's a lot more to Funny Business than the slapstick humour reminiscent of Fawlty Towers. Specifically, the show is a great example of comic improv at its best. Alan Committie (Defending the Caveman) and Robert Fridjhon have such a great time coming up with jokes on the spot, based on audience reactions or whatever else pops into their heads. It's really impressive to see these two award-winning leads work their magic!
Finding the sweet spot
And yet diverting from the script is also a risky move. On the one hand, the jokes could crash and burn in a pile-up of puns that leaves the audience cringing more than anything else. On the other hand, the jokes could work so well that the audience is laughing too loudly to hear the next line. (There were also times when the other cast members - brilliant work by Bronwyn Leigh, Jacquelyn de Villiers, Matthew Lotter, and Neville Thomas - couldn't help but chuckle as well.)
For the most part, the show manages to avoid these extremes and finds a sweet spot in the middle. Yes, one or two jokes didn't quite work (probably because they came and went too quickly), but Committie and Fridjhon turned the lack of laughs into a joke in itself. It takes some serious skill to make an audience go from passive observers to active participants, but these guys have what it takes. That's what makes the show worth seeing and what makes me eager to see what shenanigans they'll get up to next.
Funny Business is showing at Cape Town's Theatre on the Bay until 9 June, 2012 (although some performances are already sold out). Tickets start at R90 and can be purchased from Computicket or by calling +27 (0)21 438 3301.
Eugene has written about travel, leisure, food, wine, marketing, media, television, film, music, theatre, personal development, books, and more for over 50 different websites, newspapers, and magazines. He also helps individuals and companies in the hospitality industry build stronger brands through effective content marketing.
Follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter or email to say, um, hello.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.