Everything about Crazy In Love feels like good theatre purely for the sake of good theatre.
There is no important message to hammer home, no topic that needed exposing or emotions to publically cauterise.
It’s a play written, perhaps, solely for the sake of entertaining, and the story, the fabulous acting, and the incredibly inventive props-cum-scenery all support that goal of excelling just because you can.
That’s not to diminish the story spun by Crazy In Love, which has con man and professional charmer Leon (Andrew Buckland) travelling the country for years searching for the woman who jilted him and their baby at the altar.
We catch up with him on the road with his now teenage daughter Ginny (Liezl de Kock) scamming and scanning the country in their endless, futile quest.
It’s a tragi-comedy created by A Conspiracy of Clowns, a collective of theatre makers including physical performers, writers, directors and designers. It’s their fourth work and has won several festival awards, and it’s now getting a mainstream airing at The Market Theatre.
Buckland and De Kock are brilliant, both separately and together. Buckland drives the show with his character changes as he morphs from the slick to the sick as the booze takes over, eroding him into a shambles of a man. He tells his tale elaborately and expressively, a master of mimicry and physical clowning in both sides of its happy/sad façade.
De Kock matches him in the clowning, shining in those scenes where the story enters madcap territory.
The tale was written by Buckland, De Kock and Rob Murray, who also directed the show and holds everything together perfectly. It’s wacky, but never stupid, poignant and immaculately timed, romping along at a pace that matches their road trip, with some reflective times along the way.
The set by Jayne Batzofin is the third star of the show, with a shopping trolley crammed impossibly high to form the travelling junk shop of two lives. There are bits that unfurl or fold out, a hidden shrine to Ginny’s missing mother, a stepladder that doubles as a chair. It’s as wackily inventive as the story and the characters, again showing the talent for off-the-wall thinking that makes this piece so striking.
While the image of Buckland oozing from one conning character into the next so superbly is the lingering memory, the ingenious clutter of their crazy lives is another lasting highlight.
Crazy in Love runs at the Market Theatre until April 12.
Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.
She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine.
Lesley was the Information Technology Editor for Business Day for 12 years before quitting to go freelance, specialising in travel & leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. Her absolute passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.