Radio broadcaster/actor John Maytham, teams up with director Alan Committie and writer Louis Viljoen, in the world premiere of The Outlaw Muckridge, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, for two weeks only, from 13 to 24 October 2020, at 7pm.
This lethal trio of creatives combine their collective experience and expertise to present the first live stage performance at The Baxter since lockdown was first implemented, some six months ago.
“The script began with an agreement between John and I that it should be a story very much inspired by the lockdown, but not about the lockdown”, explains Viljoen. “Instead of using the pandemic as a plot point, we decided that the emotional cost of isolation and loneliness would drive the story and from there the play was born. My promise to John was to bring him madness and horror; the humour and pathos were natural side-effects of that promise.”
The story deals with a lonely, damaged man who has been taking care of his ailing mother for most of his life. In between bouts of depression and flashbacks to a life filled with emotional abuse and failures, he wishes himself to be a vengeful cowboy out to right the wrongs of the world. What or who he is avenging is not clear, but during one long night of the soul, the man realises that his greatest villain might be himself.
“I am delighted to be back in another solo performance in this mad Covid world,” says Maytham, who left full-time acting in 1990 for a career in radio journalism – the last 23 years of which have been with CapeTalk. He is currently the holder of the National Radio Awards’ Best PM Drive Show award. Most recently on stage he was seen at the Fugard in Shakespeare in Love and in Richard III at Maynardville. Other moonlighting stage returns over the last 20 years have been David Hare’s Via Dolorosa, Berlin/Wall and A Night in November – all solo shows.
“I am thrilled to be working with two good friends who also happen to be wonderfully brilliant in their respective fields,” says director Alan Committie. “John approached me to direct this commissioned one-person show as a lockdown performance to be broadcast online. Various circumstances saw that opportunity pass us by but now we are excited to be able to bring Louis Viljoen’s latest play to The Baxter, as one of the first live performances of a play at Level 1 during lockdown at the theatre.”
Committie is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading comic performers as well as a writer, director and producer. Over the last 23 years he has written and starred in his stand-up based one-man shows including The Lying King, Classy Clown, Planet Mirth, Love Factually, The Sound of Laughter and numerous others. Committie is also well remembered for his starring role in the long running Broadway hit show Defending the Caveman.
Straight theatre performances include Richard III, Oleanna, Noises off, The Merry Widow, Little Shop of Horrors and Rosentcrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
Well-known for his sharp and stinging work, this is Viljoen’s first new play following the success of The Hucksters which was staged at The Baxter in January this year. He has written and produced numerous plays which include The Bile Boys, The Frontiersmen, The Verbalists, Champ, Porno 88, The Kingmakers, The Pervert Laura, OhBaby, I’m A Wild One, The Emissary, The Eulogists and The Demon Bride. Champ and The Kingmakers earned him two Fleur du Cap Best New South African Script awards in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
Design is by Niall Griffin and the performance runs at just under an hour, with no interval and there is an age restriction of 18 years.
What: The Outlaw Muckridge
Where and when: Baxter Golden Arrow Studio for a limited season from 13 to 24 October at 7pm
Please note: Patrons are encouraged to arrive an hour earlier to avoid delays and to wear masks as required by Covid-19 regulations