Having watched some fiercely emotional theatre performances, I needed something lighthearted to bounce back. So, having seen the bright posters advertising The Phil Spectrum I decided to take a chance on him.
Despite the cold, Phil de Lange warmed up the audience with his comic charm and mild douchiness – the former being himself while the latter is his on-stage alter ego. While Tara Notcutt directs, De Lange is both writer and performer on this spectrum.
Working through his somewhat traumatic experiences of having grown up in Bloemfontein, he takes audiences on various sketches, sharing lessons of language, moving to Cape Town, and navigating the potential dangers of courting a person from a different community. His bilingual-inspired comedic style gives it a fresh vibe and definitely took the audience by surprise. It’s his second time at the National Arts Festival and De Lange’s interactive comedy continues to speak to people here.
He is an approachable and friendly figure but contrasts this by unpicking South African white boy culture while being one himself. This alternate persona shows the serious flaws of this stereotype while still coming over as relatable and funny. De Lange portrays the more acceptable character with his music on the ukulele and hilarious political statements.
Be sure to catch The Phil Spectrum at the Albany Cabaret Club on 4 July at 18:00, 5 July at 14:00, 6 July at 20:00, and 7 July at 16:00.
By Shraddha Patnala