Wrongly Accused is what theatre will look like after the apocalypse – stripped down to its core, unadulterated talent. No fancy props, costumes are limited to a few hats and a doek, and a man playing 6 characters in a tiny underground theatre that feels like a bunker.
Waseef Piekaan’s Wrongly Accused is part of the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Zabalaza Festival, winning him the Best Actor Award.
In A Town Called Fokol Lutho, the performance was all about the song and dance, so much so that I did not realise that the man can act! In Wrongly Accused, Piekaan plays a small town manchild who is completely out of his depth when he is arrested for the robbery of an Indian shopkeeper. There is some song and dance in Wrongly Accused, but it is above all a vehicle of his acting ability.
If the poster and publicity shots were my only reference to this show I would have concluded that it’s either slapstick or a cheesy magician. While the images capture the extraordinary energy that he brings it fails to emanate the rough edged softness of Koek Blom or the chilling intensity of the tikkop.
The show waltzes between light comedy and dark drama. In the middle of the show Piekaan goes so deep into the gangster character that I could not see how he was going to turn it around.
A downfall with many one-man shows are that too many in-jokes creep in. At opening night your friends and relatives might can themselves, while the ticket paying audience is kept out of the loop. With the exception of a frightening rendition of Leeuloop, Piekaan dodges this in Wrongly Accused.
Go see Wrongly Accused if you’re in need of comedic relief but not ready to switch off completely with 2013 not quite in the review mirror yet.
Catch Wrongly Accused at the Baxter Masambe Theatre from 19 November to 18 January 2014.