This Caveman is well worth defendingJennifer de Klerk
Jennifer de Klerk: It was Alan Committie’s 596th performance; with more than 2000 shows staged since Defending the Caveman was first launched 16 years ago.
And, believe it or not, I had never seen it before – always the wrong time or the wrong place. Still, it gave me a somewhat unique perspective. I suspect many in the packed-out Sunday afternoon audience were on their second, or even their third.
Of course, it’s not the totally the same show from day to day. Alan Committie is first and foremost a stand-up comedian with his finger on the pulse. Effortlessly he weaves in today’s headlines, audience reactions (here’s a very important tip – whatever you do, don’t come late), and even Zuma’s Spear.
And why not? There’s a fair amount of spear-waving around. It’s what the Caveman did.
The man, the hunter, the protector, the provider – the woman, the gatherer, the communicator, the planner. Two different roles, two different cultures, two different set of expectations … do they ever meet?
Men negotiate, women cooperate, men abandon words for action, women put their heads together and talk it out.
So how on earth can men and women live together, shop together, drive together, fish together, even kite-surf together?
The audience is in a constant ripple of laughter as points are made and recognised, rueful and otherwise. Deftly Committie takes scenarios we all know – surfing the TV channels, filling the chip bowl, visiting the neighbours, even getting lost …
Why do men never stop to ask for directions? Use the Caveman formula and it makes perfect sense – still, to a woman, exasperating, pig-headed and all those adjectives, but it makes sense.
Perhaps that is the key to the long-lasting endurance of this very funny show. It makes sense. It shines a spotlight on all the little idiosyncrasies of our genders and helps us to understand each other. After all, why do I have far more cupboard space than he does? Well, obviously, I need more stuff!
With perfect comic timing and expression Committie acts it out for us. His sketch of a man consoling another man on the phone – a series of grunts – is worth the ticket on its own.
You’ll laugh, you’ll recognise, and the next time he drives you nuts, you’ll have some inkling why. And so will he.
After Defending the Caveman came Defending the Cavewoman, then Groet die Grotman, Grotvrou and even Grotoupa.
Why not, there’s lots to say on the issue. After all, it affects us all - one way or the other.
Defending the Caveman, with Alan Committie, directed by Tim Plewman (the original Caveman), is at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre until September 16. Take a tip, it’s booking up fast, so get in soon.
Jennifer de Klerk is editor of Artslink.co.za
Montecasino Complex, Fourways Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa