SHOW: AFTER ANIMALS
CAST: NATANIEL, NICOLAAS SWART, FRANCOIS JOUBERT, MARTIN CAN HEERDEN, BRADLEY DREYER, CHARL DU PLESSIS, JUAN OOSTHUIZEN, WERNER SPIES, HUGO RADYN
VENUE: THEATRE OF MARCELLUS, EMPERORS PALACE, KEMPTON PARK, UNTIL SEPTEMBER 27
REVIEWER: PETER FELDMAN
It’s been years since I last encountered on stage the hurricane force that is Nataniël – and he doesn’t disappoint. He is a born showman and loves the adulation of the audience.
Nataniël is an extraordinary, multi-talented entertainer who over two decades has established a specific brand in every field of his endeavours. He is a director, performer, composer, designer, playwright, public speaker and, they say, a very good cook. He also sells lifestyle products under the name Kaalkop. Clever man.
Described by many as a Prophet of Our Time, Nataniël is a controversial individual who is blessed with foresight and the talent to translate what is in his head and in his heart to wider audiences through visionary shows.
With his new offering, ‘After Animals’, he throws caution to the wind as he sets about condemning mankind for destroying the planet’s wild life. He is sharp and acerbic and the lyrics of his songs cut to the core.
‘After Animals’ is set in the not-so-distant future in which the planet is blanketed by a dark, foreboding, fantastical and surprising environment. The story begins on the night when the last animal on earth is slaughtered and eaten during a secret ceremony. The ceremony heralds the start of our fragile world beginning to change and ushering in an alarming scenario that holds a lesson for us all.
This powerful theme threads its way through ‘After Animals’ in an extravagant production that sets new parameters in its visual and aural attack.
Backed by a driving four-piece band, led by keyboardist Charl du Plessis, Nataniël unleashes his potent voice on a collection of original compositions that tell of the planet’s plight.
His songs, sensitively structured works that encapsulate his feelings, are inserted into the body of the show. In the song ‘Leave the Ground’ he says, “we’ve already lost so much we hardly notice the theft, yes, the dogs in control are now the only dogs left.”
During the course of the two-hour show he also unveils a gallery of extraordinary, out-of-this-world costumes that strike the eye with their creativity and set new highs in fashion design.
Between the stunning dance routines, which are full of robust physicality and acrobatic dexterity and executed by four well-proportioned male dancers, Nataniël tells his story.
He creates word images of what the world will be like without animals, telling his stories in both English and Afrikaans, and drawing his audience in with practised ease. The tales are loaded with inherent drama.
He describes how a woman conjures up dishes that are not chicken or beef (because there are no more animals), but substitutes ingredients that she hopes will appeal to the taste and pass for the real thing.
‘After Animals’ is a slick, eye-catching exercise in Nataniël magic – and it carries a sober message for all mankind to heed. Save the animals before it’s too late!
* Tickets priced between R160 and R220 can be booked by calling the box office on 011 928 1213/1297; by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or at Computicket.