• Lance August

Raise a glass to the Strooijonker

De Klerk Oelofse stars in the hilarious and heartbreaking Afrikaans comedy “Strooijonker”. Co-directed by comedic stalwarts, Rob Van Vuuren and Louw Venter, the production takes on theatre in a different format from 30 August to 1 September 2017 at Youngblood Africa Arts and Culture Development. The production explores the relationship between love and despair, and tickles the audience’s tastebuds with the inclusion of complementary sparkling wine sponsored by Four Cousins. All these elements make for an hour-long spectacle, which will leave you wondering whether you’ve just seen a play, or stand-up comedy performance.

Strooijonker follows the story of Lukas Basson, best man to the groom, who delivers, with much angst, a speech at the wedding reception of his best friend, Jean Voster. However, things were bound to fail when a love triangle and the abundance of champagne creeps into the equation, forcing poor Lukas to air all the bridal family’s dirty laundry, and that of the bride too. Needless to say, it culminates into a recipe for disaster, and as the play progresses, Lukas slowly loses the anxiety associated with making his speech, and through his likable stage presence, De Klerk, calls on his audience to toast to everyone and everything.

The production is an Afrikaans adaptation of Louw Venter’s one-man play entitled Best Man, which first premiered in 2010 under Van Vuuren’s guidance. The production ties comedy to physical and realistic theatre. Strooijonker's interactive would appeal greatly to liberal audiences with it's strong elements of insult comedy and politically incorrect statements. Although it is written to be lighthearted and comical, dramatic tension creeps in when Lukas reveals his multifaceted and borderline psychotic personality. All of this culminates in a well-rounded theatre production that is a feast for the auditory and visual senses. So go and see this show with an open mind, and be ready to take on a persona that is totally different to that of your own.

De Klerk has proven more than adequate to star in this production. He has previously featured in Nerens, Noord-Kaap (Woordfees, directed by Nico Scheepers), Koöperasiestories (Woordfees, directed by Sandra Prinsloo), and Peter Pan. His talents are not only limited to stage, as he can be seen on kykNET series, Die Boekklub, as well.

Youngblood Africa Arts and Culture Development is the ideal venue for a production of this nature. It complements the set design by Rocco Pool, tying in with the wedding reception style and feel that the play creates. Youngblood is an entity that aims to be a platform for artists form all genres to start off from or to continue from in order to become self-sustainable. The venue boasts modern decor, a lavish bar, eatery and art gallery, which provided the perfect backdrop to this production.

Strooijonker has received raving reviews at the 2017 KKNK, and this is not just due to the show’s free champagne handout. Be on the lookout as the wedding of the year may reach a theatre near you soon.

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