by Brent Palmer. A ‘whodunit’ utilising the crime genre to explore the crisis of masculinity in South Africa at the start of the 21st century. First performed at Artscape as part of the New Writer’s Programme for 2005, directed by Matthew Wild with Nanine Wessels, Jeroen Kranenburg, et. al.
Three men are summoned to the police station for questioning. All three are regulars at Café Mojos and were present the previous Saturday night when owner Michael Viljoen seemingly “collapsed” and died under mysterious circumstances. The three men form a motley crew: designer-suited, nouveau-riche estate agent, Brian September (David Johnson); and addicted security guard Norman Bester, (Jeroen Kranenburg), who is suspicious of a sharp-tongued gay man, Irephaan Davids, (Keeno-Lee Hector). Tempers start to fray when the detective is late for the interrogations. This leaves wide-eyed Constable Ladiga (Thando Mthi) to deal with the “witnesses”, a group of three men who take an instant dislike to one another. But – are they “witnesses” or murder suspects? The men are dazzled when Detective Van Rooyen (Nanine Wessels) finally arrives and turns out to be a smiling, Afrikaans 30-something wife-and-mother. One by one the men come face to face with Van Rooyen, and they become ensnared in a bewildering game of cat-and-mouse with the smiling policewoman. Brent Palmer’s whodunnit takes particular delight in re-inventing the genre for a distinctly “New South African” group of characters. Sardonic comedy underlies the tension of the play, and as the three “witnesses” start to give up their secrets, Palmer throws a spotlight onto the crises of masculinity being experienced by each of the men.
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