A true son of of Makhanda, Rob van Vuuren is back in town,celebrating 25-years of his delicious humour and creating a sense of awe for kids at a string of shows dotted round the town formerly known as Grahamstown.
Four days into the festival, he’s been performing to sold out audiences but, fear not, as there are still a good few days to catch this talented funny man, who’s a graduate of Rhodes University and enjoys his old student town so much he returns time and again to entertain appreciative audiences.
This year, he’s presenting a diverse and fabulous range of shows at various venues around the town.
He teams up with comedian Alan Committie who directs Again, a comedy that explores the potential of repetition that can be yes, very tedious in the wrong hands, but here is used as a comedic device. In the show he blurs genres between stand-up, dance, physical comedy and much, much more in a delightful whirlwind of hilarity.
Speaking to Van Vuuren just a few days before the start of the fest, while he was busy packing, he said that he was taking so many things with him to showcase that he’s been doing over the years and refining and honing.
For kids there’s the "Florence and Watson" series, the Great Pangolin Mystery and in isiXhose The Sugarbush Mouse. He’ll also be going solo for Louis Viljoen’s adaptation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman, called Dangled, and there’ll also be a revival of his much-acclaimed Electric Juju – a fabulous physical theatre fantasy.
And of course The very "Big Comedy Show" is back for the seventh time in which he’ll be teaming up with some comedic greats that he hosts like Loyiso Madinga, Robby Collins, Tats Nkonzo and Khanyisa Bunu.
For those not in the know, Rob is aptly known for his role as Twakkie in the SABC 2 comedy series The Most Amazing Show (which he also wrote and produced alongside his creative partner Louw Venter, who played Corne).
He also appeared in numerous stage productions as well as having written, produced and starred in several one-man and two two-man shows. He also starred in several movies, voiced an animated television series and hosted several TV shows.
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Today was the first performance of uFlorence no Watson neMpuku. Our isiXhosa translation of Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse. @than9942 & Xolela Tsili were absolutely amazing! If you know any isiXhosa speaking kids please send them! We are providing free tickets to anyone who cannot afford to buy one. ❤️ @florenceandwatson @nationalartsfestival
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He even proved he can cut a rug when he appeared in Strictly Come Dancing with his coach and partner Mary Martin. The recipient of various award nominations for his roles, he will add the prominent title of Pirate Fest MC to his resume on September 7.
What is unique about his humour, I ask him?
"Well I am honest about my point of view. It’s very personal," he answers.
And adds, "My mentor was (actor) Andrew Buckland at Rhodes and I have been influenced to a large degree by him. And I’ve been perfecting physical comedy for 10 years. I guess you could say it’s my passion and commitment – whether I am playing out kid’s stuff or fantasy or dark or stand-up."
He continues, "There’s a thread running through and that is what it is."
On the cards as a talented film actor Van Vuuren will be starring in South Africa’s first commissioned original series Queen Sono, a spy thriller in which he plays a member of an elite under-cover squad, part of the highly-trained spy Queen Sono’s team. Pearl Thusi plays the title role, so watch this space!
He can also be spotted at the Cape Town Comedy Club at the V&A in August.
But if you’re at the Makhanda National Arts Fest get tickets fast as they’re selling out soon. Follow the fest on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nationalartsfestival Twitter: @artsfestival or Rob’s twitter @robvanvuuren