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Dark comedy for mature audiences


power struggle, a bad decision and a lack of tea are at the centre of the dark comedy Caught Dead, which comes to The Galloway Theatre this week.

This original play by Alastair Kingon features Alastair himself as Clive alongside Michaela O’Toole as Susan, a married couple who are polar opposites of each other.

“Clive and Susan live their lives as per normal until Clive makes a really rash and arguably bad decision, one of which Susan is not a fan,” Alastair explains.

They try to work things out but their situation becomes more than Clive can handle, or so it seems.

The play is the result of a specific plot point Alastair decided to expand on, but explaining more would give the story of Caught Dead away.

He started with a skeleton and an ending. “Personally, [I think] the most important thing to have is the ending, because you can add meat to the story more easily when you know how it is going to end.”

Love and hateIt took him a few months of writing, re-reading and adding and subtracting scenes before he was ready to rope in co-star Michaela, who he met while working on Dracula. “She’s a brilliant actress.”

Although the two only had five small scenes together, they clicked backstage and when it came to casting Susan, Alastair knew Michaela would be “perfect”.

“Susan for me is the character people will both love and hate,” he says.

“She’s rude, ungrateful, conniving and takes her husband for granted. This doesn’t usually bother Clive, who lives under Susan’s thumb until his bad decision. In Caught Dead he tries to assert his control as ‘head of the household’ but Susan snubs him every time.”

Alastair says Caught Dead is the kind of dark comedy that mature audiences will enjoy. “I would say this is a piece for people who like the aesthetic of dark period pieces, but like that to be interspersed with witty – sometimes silly – banter.

Caught Dead debuts at The Galloway from Thursday (12 January) until Saturday, after which Alastair hopes to take it to the Cape Town Fringe Festival later this year and the National Arts Festival in 2018.

It won’t be his first turn in Grahamstown, where he was most recently seen in Dracula and Saver Popsters.

Alastair says he’s been interested in theatre his whole life, so when he finished matric at Edgemead High School, he headed to Rhodes University to study drama.

Teaches dramaWhen he isn’t on stage or writing, Alastair teaches drama to school children and adds: “When I am not doing either of those I am trying my hand at film.”

Not one to let the grass grow under his feet, Alastair is already working on his next project. “It’s a different genre because I like to challenge myself both as a writer and a performer.” While the piece is still in its infancy stage, he says he hopes to have it on stage sometime soon.

In the meantime, theatre enthusiasts can see him on stage in Caught Dead at The Galloway Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 20:00.

Tickets for the 50-minute comedy cost R120 from www.waterfronttheatreschool.co.za/booknow or tickets.tixsa.co.za. The show carries an age restriction of 16. For more information call Sharon Everett on 082 772 8867 or email thegallowaytheatre@gmail.com.

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