SHOW: THE FULL MORTY
PERFORMER: MORTIMER WILLIAMS
DIRECTOR: KRISTY SUTTNER
VENUE: THE JOBURG FRINGE, UNTIL AUGUST 23
REVIEWER: PETER FELDMAN
The South African comedy scene is in a healthy state, judging by the number of comedians plying their trade around the country. Heaven knows we need a good laugh right now – and much of the source material surprisingly enough, doesn’t come from comedians. It comes from politicians and their often bizarre antics.
The comedy brigade certainly has a rich well from which to choose and they execute their routines extremely well. Individuals have their own style, patter and identity, and work around well-known themes that help raise a chuckle or two because they are smart and are often right on the button.
This brings me to comedian, Mortimer Williams. He is a man with whom I am not familiar and whose one-man show, ‘The Full Morty’, co-written and directed by Kristy Suttner, provides another comedy dimension altogether.
Williams draws his humour and inspiration from a fascinating subject: the South African male. His hour-long performance bears no semblance of structure. It skips madly from one topic to another in a frenzy of words and body movements, and opts more for smut and vulgarity to generate laughs, rather than intellect and sophistication.
One cringe-worthy sketch has him sitting on a toilet, with appropriate sound effects, as he converses with his concerned wife. Now here is a moment of inspired thinking that is truly confined to the toilet bowl.
His show never rises much higher than this as he dissects the male condition, interspersed with some classic songs which he battles to deliver above the loud backing track, telling stories that seem more appropriate to an inebriated pub crowd.
One or two sketches stand out as reasonably amusing, with one concerning a shopping spree with a tiny terrorist who wants everything she can lay her tiny hands on and his comments will strike a responsive chord among fathers in the audience.
He categorises different sections of the male condition and then launches into a wordy biology lesson on what occurs when testosterone kicks in. The average male, he contends, is sex driven, which gives Williams the green light to narrate a host of crudely constructed sexual anecdotes that had a section of his audience in stitches.
He recounts incidents from his youth, visiting a night club at the age of 18 which scarred him for life, trying hard to chat-up a girl and how he fared doing homework with a school friend named Kashiefa. He also spent a good deal of time on the subject of man flu, which he describes as more painful than childbirth. There is also a moment when he asks his audience to describe what they are seeing when he shows them three different inkspot images and they respond accordingly. It’s all about sex really and that’s the nature of this particular beast.
‘The Full Morty’ is not to everybody’s taste – mine included.
* Show times: Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.
Tickers are R120.
Visit www.joburgtheatre.com for bookings and more information.