‘Cat & Monkey’ unpacks toxicity in relationships

Danielle Retief and Rowlen von Gericke in ‘Cat & Monkey’. Picture: Supplied

Danielle Retief and Rowlen von Gericke in ‘Cat & Monkey’. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 26, 2023


Ever wondered why people stay in toxic relationships? Do they hope their partner would change, is it low self-esteem or the fear of being alone?

The new dark comedy “Cat & The Monkey” answers some of these questions, while shining the spotlight on toxicity and co-dependency in relationships.

Following the production’s successful debut at the 2022 National Arts Festival in Makhanda, “Cat & The Monkey” is headed to Theatre on the Square, in Sandton for a limited season.

Directed by Karin Retief, “The Cat & The Monkey” is “very loosely” based on “Le chat et le singe” by Charlotte Court.

Starring Danielle Retief and Rowlen von Gericke, it tells the story of Jessica and Martin, a couple who have discovered the darkest parts of each other’s personalities.

At first, it seems like a classic lovers’ quarrel but it soon becomes evident that something much darker is at play. They’ve crossed the line this time.

Who gets the winning lottery ticket? Who cheated on who? Was how they met an honest and unplanned encounter? And how on earth did they survive lockdown when their house became a jail cell?

Danielle Retief and Rowlen von Gericke in ‘Cat & Monkey’. Picture: LaMann Photostudio (NAF 2022)

In a conversation with “IOL Entertainment”, Retief and Von Gericke promise audiences sheer laughter in this enchanting new play.

This is a play about relationships and there are these wonderful twists and turns and surprises that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats,” Retief said.

“The clever writing and the interesting characters will give audiences a look at these two very disagreeable people with so many issues and how they handled them.

“You wonder why they’re still together because there are always in an argumentative state. But as I said with the surprises, you find out why.

“And in actual fact, you wonder why they are still together.

“The audiences will be fascinated with the way they interact and how they respond to one another,” she added.

Danielle Retief and Rowlen von Gericke in ‘Cat & Monkey’. Picture: LaMann Photostudio (NAF 2022)

Von Gericke said the play will serve as a mirror to many people who may be in toxic relationships with friends, family or spouses and not even be aware of it.

“This play will have you laughing and crying at the same time. The exciting part about dark comedy is you are crying and then you are laughing.

“But then are you crying because you’re laughing or crying because you’re really upset or are you laughing because you’re uncomfortable with the topic?

“The themes in this play are thematically pulled on top of each other and it’s always exciting to watch the audience twist at the end and their reactions are always so thrilling to witness,” Von Gericke shared.

She added: “We were flabbergasted by the pace because it’s a 110 pages, which we play in 75 minutes, it’s fast-paced and it’s just the two of us.

“So, it’s a lot of content, but Karin was very smart in directing certain scenes, like for instance, it’s not the person that’s speaking that you’ve got to watch, you’ve got how the other person is listening, which is fascinating.”

Don’t miss your chance to see “Cat & Monkey” at the Theatre on the Square from May 2 – 6.

Tickets are available at Computicket for R180.

Zeinab Ntombifuthi Kone. Picture: SAIBC.

The Gold Rhino of Mapungubwe Ballet

Where: South African State Theatre

When: April 26 – 30.

Conceptualised and directed by Dirk Badenhorst, “The Gold Rhino of Mapungubwe Ballet” features three compositions by double Grammy-winning flautist, producer and composer Wouter Kellerman, with décor co-ordination and design by Andrew Botha and costumes by fashion extraordinaire South African designer David Tlale.

The Mzansi Ballet includes dancers from South Africa with international dancers enlisted from Cuba, China and South Korea.

The powerful storyline of this ballet holds the connection of the mythical world, the ancient world and modern society thereby captivating audiences through the magic of stagecraft. It brings to the forefront a 1 000-year-old lost civilisation and includes a 100-year-old archaeological discovery that clashed with colonial politics at the time.

“’The Gold Rhino of Mapungubwe Ballet’ is considered to form an important pillar in the effort to reclaim history, not just for South Africa but for the African and Asian continents,” Badenhorst said.

“Furthermore, the popular rediscovery of our African heritage significantly shapes our people’s identity and our sense of pride – thus inspiring further entrepreneurship, innovation and growth across all aspects of society.”

Woza Albert!

Where: The Soweto Theatre.

When: May 8 - 12.

After a successful 12-day run at the Joburg Theatre, the world-renowned political play “Woza Albert!’’ is moving to The Soweto Theatre from May 8 – 12.

Written by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon, “Woza Albert!’’ is one of the most vibrant examples of satirical anti-apartheid South African Theatre.

The play narrates the struggle of South Africans during apartheid, by traversing different theatre abstracts to unpack the events of the story.

It explores a wide range of characters in South Africa at the beginning of the 1980s and attacks the pass laws that prevented black South Africans from moving freely at that time.

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