Louis Viljoen’s acid-tongued The Hucksters slithers on to The Baxter stage for a short season from 22 January to 1 February

13 Mar 2019 - 09:15

 

Award-winning playwright and director Louis Viljoen’s critically acclaimed play, The Hucksters, opened in 2019 to rave reviews, audience praise and sold out performances and now transfers to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio for a limited season from 22 January to 1 February.

Viljoen, known for his potent and bitingly sharp works such The Kingmakers, The Pervert Laura and The Demon Bride, directs the award-winning duo Emily Child (The Pervert Laura, The Road to Mecca, Contractions) and Nicholas Pauling (A Steady Rain, Blue/Orange and The Father).

This dynamic psychological mystery is an acid-tongued exploration of a casual sexual encounter gone awry and takes a harrowing descent into a world of lies and revenge. A man and a woman meet after not seeing each other for years and what starts off as a romantic, booze fuelled evening, slowly begins to unravel into a psychological mystery as an incident from their shared history rears its head. The mistakes of the past become the horrors of the present as these two broken people dig into their previous lives and the lies that lead them to each other.

The Hucksters has been described as Viljoen’s best work yet with Theatre Scene Cape Town calling it a ‘blistering masterpiece” and five stars from John Maytham (Cape Talk) who said, “I had one of those experiences in the theatre that I really treasure … a wonderful experience … A challenging play in the best of ways.”

Writer and Literary Critic, Karina M Szczurek, captured it well, saying, “Thought-provoking … fantastic performances. It takes a lot of skill to capture the messiness of human encounters with the pressures of violence, complexity and trauma in play.” Well known-director Hennie van Greunen was equally eloquent in describing it as “the dialogue that is the love child of Aaron Sorkin and Quentin Tarantino.” Bianca Coleman for Eat Play Drink said, “It’s stylised, relentless, and demands your attention … a short, sharp jab of delicious discomfort and reality”.

High praise was also given to the performances by Pauling and Child. They are exquisite paired up and perfectly measured as the immensely flawed Beth and Fred, who begin cutting into each other when the night takes a dark turn.

Karen Rutter for WeekendSpecial described their performances as, “utterly engaging” and Beverley Brommert, who also gave it five stars, raved, saying “ the articulate quality of the dialogue, and the polish with which Child and Pauling deliver it, are the stuff of which great theatre is made.”

Viljoen has won Fleur du Cap Theatre awards for Champ in 2013 and The Kingmakers in 2015, both for Best New South African Script and he was the recipient of the Rosalie van Der Gucht Best New Director award for his plays, The Kingmakers and The Pervert Laura. He has written and produced numerous plays, others which include The Bile Boys, The Frontiersmen, The Verbalists, Porno 88, Oh Baby I’m A Wild One, The Emissary and The Eulogists. He is also the writer of Rob van Vuuren’s internationally acclaimed one-man show, Dangled, which was invited to the 2017 Brighton Fringe Festival.

The striking and captivating set and lighting design is by Niall Griffin (Tuesdays With Morrie, The Last Five Years, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hedwig and The Angry Inch) and is set to leave the audience’s mind reeling in the most disturbing yet captivating manner. 

The Hucksters runs at the Baxter for as short season from 22 January to 1 February, tickets are R130 and booking is through Webtickets or Pick n Pay stores. The play contains explicit language and scenes of a sexual nature so there is an age restriction of 18 years.

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