First Night: South Africa's satirist stands and delivers

Pieter-Dirk Uys Tricycle Theatre London
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The Independent Online
POLITICAL STAND-UP comedy in this country is like voting Tory at a general election: a decidedly passe kind of thing to do. In South Africa people have never had the luxury of taking politics for granted.

It hardly surprising that the leading comedian from that country, Pieter- Dirk Uys, should be a biting political satirist. He recently performed in the SA parliament as his most famous creation, Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout, South Africa's answer to Dame Edna Everage. As he remarked: "I mean, please, can you see Lily Savage in the House of Commons?" Uys has been a regular performer in London over the last decade, but his latest show, "Dekaffirnated," which opened at the Tricycle Theatre last night, is perhaps his most moving work yet.

It underlines how hopes for the brave new world of the Rainbow Nation have in many cases been cruelly dashed. "We're quite a successful democracy," he reckons, "because we're all equally pissed off."

As Evita, he fronted a 10,000 kilometre, 60-city tour to fight voter apathy before the general election last month. In an off-the-beaten- track community centre, a young black man told Uys: "We fought for freedom. All we got was democracy."

When apartheid came to an end, many predicted that Uys's satirical darts would be blunted. Sadly, the new political set-up has presented him with nearly as many sitting targets as the old.