Trying to keep up with the wonderful mirth and unique frenetic charm of Alan Committie’s 20th one man show is like attempting to catch a runaway train. You see it coming, you plan keeping up and jumping on board just in time. You even try to catch one of the front coaches so that you are a few cars ahead of him. But forget it. His humour is faster than an AK-47 as he uses words like candifloss bullets that hit your soft spots with the speed of a taxi in the yellow lane.
His freneticism and razor-sharp one-liners may catch you off guard in the beginning, even offend slightly if you are sensitive. And you have no idea how you are going to keep up, let alone take in every nuance in his rapid-shooting style. But once you realize that you needn’t duck every time he takes the audience on for not clapping or reprimanding the few seats that are open, you quickly slip into a comfort zone where you allow his mirth to wash you clean of your frustrations and the few sins he made you aware of.
Not only does he succeed in making the unthinkable funny (the water crisis in Cape Town, but always with sympathy and the incompetence of the cell phone providers and the government to name but three) one realises that fitting into the gloves of his humour is the only way to survive it.
Fact of the matter is: his humour is extremely bright and mostly improvised. Bez-Valley, Hoedspruit (a lovely place, I have just been there) and the stars above Welkom will never be the same again.
And those poor souls in rows A and B – be assured those steely eyes with their wicked sense of humour will lock into yours and identify every little weakness you have which will be exploited to the amusement of those lucky people further back and out of shooting range. It is his rapport with the audience and the way he cleverly engages them that will make you sit till the end. Just make sure he doesn’t know you’re not into maths and science if you’re still at school – you will laugh every formula out of your head.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and this show has a strong recommendation. And boy oh boy, do we need it now as the emoji planets which decorate his stage in various degrees of angst prove.
Leon van Nierop
Alan Committie in Planet Mirth is on at Montecasino’s Pieter Toerien Theatre until 25 February 2018.