David Isaacs and Oscar Petersen, the immensely popular Joe Barber boys (they have over 10 000 Facebook fans), return for their fifth show in 10 years. They quite correctly point out that some of us have grown grey temples watching them. The theme for their latest show – School Cuts – is about school reunions and reminiscences (their generation are in the vicinity of their 25th homecoming).
This time around, there seems to be more of Isaacs and Petersen as themselves than as their characters ¬– the beloved and localised commedia dell’arte style creations – Boeta Joe and Boeta Gamat, Gamat’s wife, Washiela, and the picaresque Outjies.
These folk heroes deliver their vernacular humour thick and fast. The material is funny, as are their shrewd observations, but crucially they are terrifically comical simply in the way they tell a yarn or throw away a line. They are far funnier than many of the stand-up comics currently doing the circuit. They have a theatricality and an alphabet of dramatic performance at their fingertips that lifts them a cut above the rest. A highlight includes a beautifully choreographed scene miming relay-running at the interschool athletics.
Directed by Heinrich Reisenhofer and with music by Jitsvinger, this show caps their last two, and marks in several ways a return to what made their invention so great in the first place.