11 Oct Joker is Queen
Starts in 3 Days, 21 Hours
December 13, 2019 to December 14, 2019
EXTRAVAGANZA OF COMIC CHARACTERS
If it is loud and constant laughter you are seeking over the festive season, make sure you book for one of the two performances of Joker is Queen, a highlight of the Playhouse Company’s year-end package of entertainment.
This hilarious show, turning the spotlight on the extensive talents of popular comics and stars of stage, film and television, Leeanda Reddy and Kaseran Pillay, is to be staged in the Playhouse Drama theatre at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14.
Joker is Queen is part of the Durban arts body’s jam-packed Christmas season programme which includes a sumptuous ballet, a new musical-comedy penned by Clinton Marius, a jazz concert, a wildlife-themed Gcina Mhlophe production for the young, and a lavish Christmas-themed concert with the KZN Philharmonic and guest artists.
An extravaganza of 10 unrelated comic sketches, featuring 24 diverse and colourful characters, all played by Reddy and Pillay, Joker is Queen opens with a throwback to the arrival of the first Indians in South Africa – in a paddle boat, because they missed the main ship! – and then takes many different, unpredictable comic turns.
A slick and energetic production, it is a collection of highlights from previous sketch-based stage successes from the team – shows including Buckled, Queens of Comedy, Old School, Glued and 150 Years and Still Laughing.
It is comedy at its best, with the characters – all depicted with lightning-fast changes of costumes, wigs and accents – including a concerned nurse, a frustrated teacher, an old-school principal, a sycophantic news reporter and assorted know-it-alls, oddballs and misfits.
There are references to the Guptas and KwaZulu-Natal’s traditional Reed Dance festival, and the audience can also look forward to mirth being milked from a funeral, advice on plastic containers and a variation of the vuvuzela.
Reddy’s popular character, the drunken loser and wannabe-philosopher Uncle Eric, is also in the show; along with Pillay’s hilarious, bumbling sign-language interpreter. Also keep an eye out for the highly amusing Tamil Man, who offers handy hints on budget weddings to Queen Elizabeth.
Leeanda Reddy, a Johannesburg-based screen and stage actress, took home a South African Film and Television Award (Safta) in 2016 for Best Lead Actress in a Soap, for her performance as Priyanka Kumar in SABC3’s Isidingo.
Reddy, whose many TV credits include roles in Scandal, Snitch and Zero Tolerance, has an honours degree in speech and drama from the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
On the big screen she has been seen in 2017’s The Dark Tower and as the lead in the recent South African drama, 3 Days to Go. She starred opposite Naomi Watts in Diana, featured with Boris Kodjoe and Tront Espen Seim in Cape Town (based on Deon Meyer’s crime-thriller series) and was the lead actress, opposite Leon Schuster, in the comedy, Mr Bones 2.
Reddy has performed on stages throughout South Africa and in India and Scotland. She is co-owner of Mustard Seed Productions, where she writes, directs and produces stage productions.
Her stage credits include the role of Titania in Pieter Scholtz’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Viola in Ralph Lawson’s Twelfth Night and Lady Macbeth in Stephen Gurney’s Macbeth.
Other roles include leads in Michael McAloney’s Shaken or Stirred, Sir? and Ronnie Govender’s one-woman play, At the Edge, in which she portrayed 30 different characters. She received FNB Vita Award nominations for Best Lead Actress in Twelfth Night (2000) and for Beyond Calvary (1999).
Kaseran Pillay is also a star of stage and screen. He is an actor, stand-up comedian, voice artist, director and writer who was among regular cast members of the SABC3 travel series, Going Nowhere Slowly, which ran from 2005 to 2007.
He is also sure to be remembered as one of the celebrity contestants on M-Net’s Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina, televised in 2010.
Pillay’s many other TV appearances include roles in Kyk-Net’s Binnelanders, SABC2’s On the Couch, SABC1’s Bay of Plenty and the 2008 M-Net drama, Innocent Times. He is currently starring in the new M-Net series, Trackers.
His movie credits include Mr Bones 2, Blitzpatrollie, The Story of Solomon Mahlangu and I Am All Girls, while stage credits include Abbamaniacs, The Coolie Odyssey, My Cousin Brother, Snow White and Several Dwarves, Catch Khalulu and There’s Something About Dr Maree.
Tickets for Joker is Queen cost R150 and R180. They can be bought at the Playhouse box-office – phone (031) 3699 596/40 – or online and at Pick N pay outlets via WebTickets (the customer support line is 086 111 0005).