Nicholas Ellenbogen's “Slips” is a definite winner. Although set at Newlands Cricket Ground, the play is about people and cultures, and no real sports knowledge is needed to enjoy the humour, which should appeal to all - especially South Africans.
Take Anthony “Lasher” Dawkins, a sports-enthused, retired mathematics master from Bishops, whose second home is the Members' Stand in Newlands. Put Eric “Wisdom” Tshabalala, a semi-retired businessman (ex taxi boss) in the seat next to him. Add a decent dose of pigeon poo, binoculars, and a vuvuzela, shake it all up and enjoy the resulting hilarity.
The humour comes from the clash, interaction and the unlikely friendship that develops between these two very different men. There are also several deeper, solo scenes, in which the characters are developed and made real, revealing some of their past. Nicholas Ellenbogen, who wrote the play and plays Lasher, is excellent. I especially enjoyed his imaginative interactions with the other (imaginary) spectators. Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi is also outstanding, as the louder-than-life Wisdom. Nomazulu Khumalo, playing Wisdom's daughter, and Liz Szymczak as the tough Zimbabwean gunsmith with a crush on Lasher, make up the rest of the impressive cast.
My only reservation with this play was that it possibly goes on for a bit too long. Otherwise it is first class and highly recommended. “Slips” continues its run at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio until 30 January, 2010.