The Chester Missing Road Show has finally opened up in Cape Town this week. Zalebs reporter Clayton Morar attended the show's opening on Wednesday night and spoke to SA's top ventriloquist, Conrad Koch, to find out more about his famous puppets who form part of The Chester Missing Show.
Chester Missing is the world’s first political analyst puppet, on a mission to get South Africans laughing at people with power. Whether he is talking about Helen Zille, Jacob Zuma or even Trevor Manuel, Chester is bound to be frank and ruffle some feathers with his bold statements about the current political climate in SA. After a sold out run in Johannesburg he’s bringing his cutting edge social satire to Cape Town, which a number of celebrities attended including TV presenter Jo-Ann Strauss, comedian Stuart Taylor, Montana actor Reuben Engel as well as theatre director Heinrich Reisenhof.
What's it like being back in Cape Town with Chester?
I love Cape Town, it's my home town and it's always good to be away from Johannesburg and all the politics that happens here. Being in Cape Town always keeps me sane and it's fun now to see how audiences relate to the new show.
You're very controversial in using Chester and your puppetry as a way to address political and social issues in SA. How do you prepare for the show?
It's quite difficult and complicated at the same time. One has to be very politically aware and convey the humour in such a manner that it doesn't come across as too offensive or making someone uncomfortable. I always try and keep things politically balanced.
Being a ventriloquist in SA is not often celebrated, but how has it that you've Chester has become such a phenomenon?
It's been so crazy because when political situations happen, you have various media wanting interviews with Chester. I started out in this profession merely just wanting to showcase my puppetry skills, and it's mind blowing to know that media outlets like Reuters, CNN, Radio 702 and ENCA all want to do interviews with Chester. He's outspoken on a lot of matters about the SA political climate and it seems people are keen to hear his view on things.
How did the audience in Johannesburg react to the show?
It has been cool to see the difference between Johannesburg and Cape Town. A number of political members of the ANC Youth League were in attendance as well as various other politicians, and the show was sold out. Cape Town audiences are much more reserved and I hope that some of the local politicians here come out to see the show. I know Western Cape Première Helen Zille indicated that she wanted to come and see the show, so we'll see who all turns up to watch Chester in action.
Here's an interview Chester Missing did with CNN international anchor Richard Quest:
The Chester Missing Shows runs at The Baxter Theatre until 3 August.
Article by Clayton Morar