“In India, I have done four performances till now and got four standing ovations,” shares the unassuming actor Pip Utton, a one-time jeweller. The 61-year-old actor has charmed the audience by playing Adolf Hitler, Francis Bacon, Charles Dickens and the Hunchbank of Notre Dame, among others.
Utton plans to storm the city’s audiences with his solo acts of Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill. An alternative narrative from Jailoshini Naidoo, a South African Indian who has played 38 characters at a time, will complement him. “It’s been 20 years that I have been doing this but I still get jittery where sometimes, I wake up at night wondering where will I get my next performance from; yet I never want to retire from acting,” confides Utton.
Naidoo has a similar trajectory where she couldn’t resist being on stage although she was a teacher. “I was part of the drama department and more often than not was rehearsing about being on stage. Eventually, I plunged into everything and there was no looking back.” In contrast, Utton cannot judge Churchill but still describes him as “fiendishly funny”.
Naidoo, a TV hostess and stand-up comedian, informs that her pieces are based on Ronnie Govender’s short stories who explores how migrant Indians had an in-between status as opposed to blacks and whites. Her great grandparents were indentured labourers. At the Edge speaks of a designated area for Cato Manor where camaraderie bound most Indians but was displaced during the 1960s in the shadow of apartheid.