Reviewed by Catherine Hart
Deep South Caesar is so aptly named I almost can’t believe it. Greg (played by Aimee Smith) is our stereotypical Kiwi bloke who truly believes that the sun shines out his own butt-hole for the world to enjoy. Despite his confidence, he is not actually a ruler of the people, but an emotionally stunted man struggling to make his mark on the world.
Isaac Thomas joins Smith onstage with a guitar and masks to represent the different characters. Thomas offers musical accompaniment as well as a voice to contradict Greg when necessary.
The music throughout the performance is put together well, with lyrics relating directly to the action. Smith has written these songs with care and attention, and without knowing the exact input from Thomas, it is clear that the pair have a strong working relationship.
A favourite moment of mine is when Greg becomes a landlord, building houses on his ladder to success. The references to monopoly make me giggle, while Greg’s satirical acts as a landlord almost break my heart in their realness.
The audience loves Greg. For a complete dickhead he is incredibly endearing. He encapsulates the ridiculousness of hyper masculinity while making us laugh, and that is a commendable feat in itself. Plus, we love Thomas’ characters too. When Thomas rebels against Greg we are in full support, cheering as he exits.
Underneath the humour and ridiculousness of Greg, Smith does a fantastic job of calling out the hypocrisy and sadness of toxic masculinity. She has created a character that uses the patriarchy in complete satire, something that many performers attempt and fail to do.
Deep South Caesar is an enjoyable show from start to finish with important messages to be found throughout. Greg deserves more stories and more stage time, and I’m excited to see whether he will develop a life further than this particular show.
Deep South Caesar is part of the 2018 Nelson Fringe Festival. To check out other shows and workshops, click here.