Theatre review: Lottering on Lockdown, Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, Dec 2020 to Jan 2021

What: Lottering on Lockdown Where: The Baxter Theatre When: Nov 18, 2020 to Jan 9, 2021 Featuring: Marc Lottering Tickets: R100-R150 Bookings: Webtickets Show duration: 80 minutes. No interval

During lockdown, Marc Lottering performed on the digital stage with two live streamed shows [My Fellow South Africans and Another One]. December 2020 [until January 2021] and he is back on stage, at the Baxter, with Lottering on Lockdown– a wonderful festive season offering – spiked with mirth, reflection, gratitude, tenderness and dollops of cautious optimism.

Many of us were not expecting to be able to sit in a theatre in 2020 and it has happened. Having said that, there is the constant threat of the virus which is hovering, finding hosts to zap and infect. From the get-go of this show, Lottering acknowledges the angst and the decision making – ‘to go to the theatre or not –that is the question’. He thanks the audience for convening with him at his show. I think that this shows tremendous awareness of the circumstances. We cannot blithely carry on, without acknowledging the current very tenuous times we are living through.

Whilst, Lottering is upbeat and in high energy mode, he tempers the comedy with reality-checks as he regales us with his lockdown stories and with his stirring lockdown song, What about the people, [August 2020]. In this song, he appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to help the people who are/were starving as a result of the pandemic and lockdown. The song was originally sung by Craig Lucas, lyrics and music, written by Lottering. In Lottering on Lockdown, he sits at the piano and sings. The film that was made to go with the song, is screened on stage. It is gut-wrenching to see people lining up for food, being dispensed by activist Joanie Fredericks, through her feeding scheme in Mitchells Plain. Lottering gave huge support to Fredericks and others during the lockdown. This was a few months ago but the pandemic is far from over. We watch this in December 2020 and it is heart breaking to see.

Coupled with the reflective interludes, Lottering on Lockdown features classic Lottering – riffing and jibing off lockdown – the arbitrariness of rules and regulations (remember taking a shopping bag in order to go for a walk; doing crunches in line at the supermarket) and adverts for coffins on (don’t know if that is true – never saw that – but this year has been about craziness all round). Watch out for the Mr Delivery sanitising set (delicious) and Merlot served in a tea-pot (true story)– when restaurants could not sell liquor – and what you needed to do to signal your menu choice.

In the release for this show, it is noted that Lottering is sharing stories from his lockdown digital shows. Yes, there is material from the digital stage but there is also new material. For example, in one of his lockdown digital shows, I think his first one, My Fellow South Africans, he did a set with his character Colleen the Cashier coming out about the fact that she had been through a bout of Covid and survived to take up her job again. She tagged herself as ‘Corona Colleen’. This was at a time when there was tremendous secrecy and subterfuge around Covid status; something to be ashamed of. Watching Lottering on the Baxter stage, donning Colleen’s pink cardigan and I think – ‘okay, here comes that set’ but no Colleen The Cashier, “permanent casual for nine years” has a lot more to harangue her customers with and she is not repeating herself verbatim from the digital shows. She is the lockdown poster warrior. Bravo Colleen. I was overwhelmed by Lottering’s new material – post the digital shows. He has put together a multi-layered script. There is signature Marc Lottering Duracell Bunny zip –scampering across the entire stage – and vibey music provided by DJ Chad Chitter (aka DJ  Skouers). DJ Chitter was on stage on opening night. His performance was recorded and is screened every night. DJ Chitter has a big following on Instagram @chad_chitter with youngsters– over 45 thousand followers – who love his moves – such as DJ-ing from his car on Fridays.

Many of us have felt sluggish this year – slouching around in our pyjamas and lockdown wardrobe. This show is opposite of sluggish. Lottering is switched on in full-on power mode. Sit up straight; mask on and be pulled along by his vitality, keenly observed comedy and song. By the way, I was very impressed by the Covid protocols at the Baxter and impressed that people kept their masks on in the theatre.

Lottering on Lockdown is 80 minutes of joy – being entertained by Marc Lottering and at the same time being invited to reflect on this year of living in lockdown – and to keep going. Lottering poses: “How do you position yourself in the world right now”? Yeah, a good question. “Somehow, we are finding our way through this.” It is complicated. Laughter helps a lot. Don’t miss Lottering on Lockdown. On until January 9, 2021 – unless there is another lockdown – which means that you should book now. Don’t go if you are medically at risk or compromised in some way. 

Marc Lottering, Lottering on Lockdown, Baxter Theatre, Dec 2020 to Jan 2021. Photo by Lyndsey Appolis.

Image credits: Marc Lottering, Lottering on Lockdown, Baxter Theatre Dec 2020 to Jan 2021. Photo by Lyndsey Appolis

Related coverage of Marc Lottering, lockdown, on TheCapeRobyn