Defending the Caveman My Reviews 09 MAY 2008

Alan CommittieSo a little while ago C and I had made the trip out to Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay to catch the marvelously funny Alan Committie handling the reins of the hugely successful, worldwide smash hit, Defending the Caveman. For those of you who have never heard of it, the show is originally written by Rob Becker and has been seen in theaters around the world by more than seven million people in more than thirty countries, performed in over fifteen different languages!

As it is, this one man show holds the record for being the longest running solo play in the history of Broadway (and interestingly enough the longest running solo show in South Africa thanks to Tim Plewman’s 8 year run), so that alone should tell you a little bit more about its credentials. The play itself took more than three years to write and over time it has been shaped and localized to wherever it is being performed, but to this day the fundamentals on which the play is based stays true to the original – which is of course the detailed description of the differences between men and women.

Basically, the story on which the piece plays out on is that of a man who is asked the question “just why are all men arseholes?” by a group of women and then the answer that he eventually arrives to after deep, meaningful deliberation and possibly the influence of something a little stronger than just his imagination.

As the deliberation unfolds, you get an in-depth look at what makes women different from men and how these differences in two completely separate cultures leads to the misunderstanding that everyone knows of so well today. Of course, this sounds all pretty boring so far, but you have to understand that all this extremely informative and very true information is delivered in the most comedic of fashions with some of the funniest (and true to life!) anecdotes that you will ever hear.

A blend of stand-up comedy, lecture, and therapy session, it attempts to resolve the “war” between the sexes. The play manages to stand up for the women’s side, while still being sympathetic to the male side of issues as well. As Becker describes it, the play is a venue for showing that “men do in fact have emotions – they just express them differently! Amazingly enough, Defending the Caveman has even been seen and recommended to patients by psychologists and counselors, a testament to just how right it gets things.

It is literally a laugh a minute rollercoaster of situations that will have you and your partner nodding your heads in agreement with every line spoken. And make no mistake, nothing is spared and every, every sacred cow is slaughtered in this frank and oh so true discussion of what makes men “men” and women “women”.

Now for years the legendary Tim Plewman was running the show here in South Africa, entertaining South Africans all over the country. However, after running so successfully for so long, he had to eventually relinquish the reins to a younger performer, and his man of choice has been no other than the laugh-a-minute Alan Committie himself. Alan is one of those comedians who is just on the verge of making his breakthrough into the public eye thanks to his hilarious Johan van der Walt character who appeared on MNET’s Laugh out Loud show as well as in his own newly released DVD.

Of course, Alan is no stranger to live theatrical comedy, having penned and performed in a number of his own one-man productions and as such proved to be the perfect choice for Tim. Charming, loveable and extremely funny, Alan slips into the role established by Tim with absolute ease and has the entire audience eating out of his hand for the duration of the show. His expressions, body language and delivery are exactly what you expect from a top-flight comedian and the show is guaranteed to have you in stitches all the way through (even if you’ve seen it before).

This is one of those perfect date shows to take your partner to so be sure not to miss it – you are bound to learn a lot more than what you had ever bargained on from it.

Just be sure to take an extra pair of pants with! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.