Cuningham a class act

Cuningham a class act

SHOW: Sunday Morning
DIRECTOR: Jenine Collocott
CAST: James Cuningham
VENUE: Kalk Bay Theatre until August 11
REVIEW: Carla Lever

It’s the plot to launch a thousand magazine features: a man who’s slowly adjusting to life with a live-in girlfriend freaks out when she announces she’s pregnant. Taking a tough look at his life, he realises that he’s living the picket fence lifestyle he always swore he’s escape and a child seems like the nail in the proverbial coffin of conformity. As he heads out deep into the urban jungle of Johannesburg for a run to mull over his options, he is forced to confront more than a few home truths. Maybe it will be more than his mind that changes. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be his whole life.

Not sounding too original? That’s because you haven’t seen Nick Warren’s take on the tale. Nor, for that matter, James Cuningham’s portrayal of the doubt-filled dad.

See, Nick Warren has a way with words. The two scripts of his I’ve seen performed (this and ‘Dirt’, previously also showing at the Kalk Bay Theatre and Baxter) have both been beautifully constructed and very, very funny. In the case of ‘Sunday Morning’, Warren takes your bog standard new dad in crisis and gives it a fresh zest.  This is one heck of a witty word-workout, without falling into the trap of becoming a one-dimensional funnyfest.

As for the acting, it’s quite simply flawless. Cuningham is blessed with an innate sense for textual nuance, making his delivery spot on every line, every time. Match that with an ease of presence and movement sensibility that perfectly punctuates his text (kudos here no doubt to talented director Jenine Collocott) and you’ll have to agree that Cuningham is one classy actor.

This is a slick, beautifully finished production, the kind of performance I wish we got the chance to see more often. Go and see Cuningham prove that fatherhood’s not for the faint hearted.

* For bookings and more information, visit www.kbt.co.za.