Review: Nik Rabinowitz at the Moyo Kirstenbosch Winter Concert Series

Having a picnic at the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts is as rooted in Cape Town’s culture as getting excited about hail that looks a tiny bit like snow. The end of the summer concert series in April marks the start of the great Cape  Town hibernation.
Despite hardly being the coldest city in the world, Capetonians sure do not like to go out in winter. Maybe the new Winter Concert Series at Moyo will prove to be the solution.

The concerts are hosted in the cosy Moyo at Kirstenbosch and are limited to an exclusive 100 ticket holders. Some of the acts that are lined up for the next 3 months are Three Tons of Fun, Mark Haze and Arno Carstens. We were there for the first show in the series and the first comedian to ever perform at Moyo: Nik Rabinowitz.

Nik Rabinowitz

Nik Rabinowitz

At R 85 the tickets are on par with the cheaper Summer Concert tickets but whereas on the concert lawn you have to provide your own picnic and drinks, these tickets at Moyo include a welcome drink and an appetiser. For this first show the appetiser proved to be a mini tasting platter of peanut and prawn soup with flat bread, oxtail and the delectable moyo moja with custard. As with all Moyo’s meals the food was wonderfully presented on the plate but the waiter simply plonked it down on our table with barely more than a fleeting smile. I missed Gold Restaurant’s waiters who talk through each dish mentioning its origin and ingredients. While a full introduction may have been excessive in this context, it is still nice to know what you are eating, especially if you have allergies.

After a Moyo-style traditional dance, the main act took the stage: Mr Nik Rabinowitz.
“Roses are Red, King Kong is a gorilla, I still have Nkandla, so suck it Helen Zille.” If Nik Rabinowitz had chosen political poetry as a career path, this would have been the masterpiece read by our esteemed president in his presidential speech that fell on Valentine’s Day this year. But as it is Rabinowitz is just a comedian standing in front of a crowd asking them to laugh at his inappropriate jokes. Something we were extremely happy to do.

He tested some new material that was slightly shaky but with his quick wit Rabinowitz quickly turned each wobble around. The most impressive was an Oscar Pistorius joke that I have not heard yet. I didn’t think there were any good ones left to tell.
Rabinowitz’s comedy is particularly admirable for being so current. I recognised a story that I had sniggered at in the Daily Maverick just a couple of days before and I felt an immediate bond that he, like me, had found it so funny, even though for some reason no one had laughed when I told it. But then comedy is not just about content but about delivery, and so much is down to the way that Rabinowitz delivers his material. And to top it off he is a master of impressions, switching between voices so flawlessly that it’s almost as though he does so inadvertently.

Downing a shot every time Rabinowitz makes a Jewish joke would be a very dangerous drinking game. For a man who takes the piss out of everyone, taking the piss out of his own people seems to be his favourite fallback… to the point where I doubt that he even realised when he threw in the voice of a snobby Jewish lady right in the middle of a Zuma joke.

A version of this review was featured on WhatsoninCapeTown.com

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