Barely Legal: 18 Years of South African Comedy

Assembly Roxy

From 02 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

In addition to the six plays from South Africa, Assembly has also invited a pair of stand-up comedians from the country to share a set celebrating the coming of age of a country that only began to integrate its races in 1994.

Inevitably, Dave Levinsohn and Loyiso Gola are a contrasting duo. In an almost symbolic way, they give the impression of representing two different generations of comedians from the troubled Republic.

Beer-swilling Levinsohn is older, more laid-back and, wearing shabby jeans, looks like most other stand-ups in Edinburgh.

His main themes relate to the differences in culture and comedy in SA and elsewhere. He also makes much of the Olympics and in particular what he sees as the biased BBC coverage favouring British no-hopers.

Visitors to the show will now struggle to watch a gymnast performing without remembering Levinsohn.

The more adventurous part of the hour followed with the arrival of the tall, sweaty Gola, who tends to be louder and more macho as he lampoons anyone and everyone, Brits clearly not impressing him.

Gola too likes sport as a topic. He also has the advantage of being an impressive Nelson Mandela mimic, ridiculing the ex-president affectionately.

The South Africans in the audience clearly got far more from this evening than the rest of the world, suggesting that comedy is not necessarily as global as one might imagine.