AS Desmond Tutu says: “Evita Bezuidenhout is not a woman; Evita Bezuidenhout is a legend.” Together with Pieter-Dirk Uys, she has been part of our lives for close to 40 years and to refer to them both as national treasures is not an overstatement.
PDU’s new show at Theatre On The Bay, #HeTwo, opens with the unthinkable – the apparent death of the most famous white woman in South Africa. But, as Uys asks the audience, how can someone who doesn’t exist, die? And why do so many people keep thinking she’s real? Probably because for so many of us, she is very real.
Taking to the almost-bare stage in this intimate theatre, Uys guides us on the journey of Evita’s life, going all the way back to before she was the wife of a National Party Minister in the Verwoerd Cabinet, and then the South African Ambassador in the Independent black homeland republic of Bapetikosweti. History is revealed through old footage and looking back on it now, how on earth did Tannie Evita manage to get Piet Koornhof into a mustard yellow suit, ruffled blouse, stockings and wig – on television? With her?! It’s only a small indication of her amazing powers.
During this retrospective we see Evita being honoured and adored, and her meetings and interviews with politicians, as well as her widely-rumoured affair with Pik Botha. Have a giggle at her fishing adventures with Cyril Ramaphosa, and if you can keep a dry eye as Uys recalls her meeting with Nelson Mandela then, well, you’re a stronger woman than me.
Between the AV component of the show, Uys addresses the gathering in various guises – himself, and a selection of the characters he has lampooned over the decades. Heck, I remember seeing him during the dark old days and wondering how on earth he got away with what he did. The role Uys and Evita have played in our country’s history is indisputable.
#HeTwo is a title inspired by the #MeToo revolution, but in this case referring to the two people Uys has been responsible for during his long career as an entertainer: himself and herself. Naturally, this production wouldn’t be complete without Mrs Bezuidenhout making an appearance, and a passionate speech. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she was in charge of running this country?
#HeTwo is at Theatre On The Bay in Camps Bay, Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm, and on Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, until September 14, 2019. Tickets cost from R150 through Computicket, 0861 915 8000 and the theatre box office on 021 438 3301. Visit Evita se Perron’s Youtube channel where more than 200 episodes of Evita’s Free Speech can be viewed, with a new episode added every Sunday.