Arts Festival: The fringe

2010-06-12 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal’s finest actors and actresses have headed to Grahamstown to perform on the Fringe at this year’s National Arts Festival.

• Clare Mortimer’s superb, Kiss of the Spiderwoman , which I saw at the Catalina Theatre earlier this year, is just one of the plays hoping to woo festival-goers in Grahamstown.

Penned by Argentinian writer, Manuel Puig, this award-winning play tells the story of two men who share a Brazilian prison cell. During their incarceration, Luis Molina passes the time by telling Valentin Arregui stories based on the plot of one of his favourite films, a wartime romantic Nazi thriller which he embellishes with additional characters. An unlikely friendship develops between these two, vastly different, men — the dreamer and the political activist find common ground.

Kiss of the Spiderwoman will be staged at PJ’s from June 20 to June 27.

• A year after their triumph with Wit, KickstArt Theatre Company returns to Grahamstown with Boston Marriage , which tells the story of Anna and Claire, two scheming women of fashion.

Anna has just become the mistress of a wealthy man and Claire is infatuated with a respectable young woman and wants to enlist Anna’s help for an assignation. When Claire’s inamorata suddenly appears, however, it sets off a crisis that threatens the women’s future.

The play will be staged at PJ’s from June 20 to June 27.

• Ben Voss brings his mouthy alter ego, Beauty Ramapelepele, to the Kingswood Theatre from June 28 to June 30 and July 1 to July 4. In Beauty Therapy , Tiger Woods, MPs, football players and Barack Obama all get a verbal flogging.

Voss also directs NATV Live in Grahamstown. From pop stars to politicians, the NATV team bring it all to you live — but are the cameras really rolling. The show will be staged in the St Andrew’s Hall from June 20 to June 30 and from July 1 to July 4.

• Geraldine Naidoo’s latest offering, Monkey Nuts , is another KZN production heading to the festival. In this new one-man show, Matthew Ribnick portrays a series of unforgettable characters who will have you in hysterics.

The show tells the story of Edgar Chambers, a bank teller by profession, who has the knack of sniffing out free “stuff” and special offers, and whose main hobby is monitoring the prices of grocery items in various stores.

Monkey Nuts can be seen in the Drill Hall from June 24 to June 30 and on July 1.

• The comical and topical musical Madame President will be staged by Durban Theatre Company, K-Caps, at Kingswood Theatre from June 27 to June 30 and from July 1 to July 4.

Madame President , which was staged at The Playhouse Drama Theatre last year, takes a look at some of the issues that might arise if a woman were elected as the next democratic president. Written and directed by Edmund Mhlongo and with musical direction from Linda Ngcwensa, the musical features a cast of 25 singers, actors and dancers, as well as a live five-piece band.

• Neon Anthems return to Grahamstown with the hilarious two-hander, Tokoloshe Come Again , the latest instalment in Jacobus van Heerden and Liam Magner’s Tokoloshe chronicles. See it at St Andrew’s Hall from June 20 to 30 and July 1 to July 4.

• The dinner thriller, The Strange Case of the Midnight Phantom , starring midlands residents Paul Spence and Annie Robinson, will be staged in the Monument Restaurant on June 23, 24, 27, 28, 30 and July 1, 2, 3 at 8 pm and June 25 and 26 at 9.15 pm.

Set in September 1939 at a private school in the midlands, the play is a murder mystery in which a master’s wife has met with an unfortunate accident: the much-loved school librarian has been “put out to grass”, the widowed headmaster has taken a vivacious new wife, and a ghostly phantom strides across the school grounds.

• Festival favourite, Ian “Ewok” Robinson, fresh from playing Iago in Think Theatre’s Othello , will be performing in IainEWOKRobinson is Live! at St Andrew’s Hall from June 20 to June 28. In this fourth show from award-winning spoken-word actor, he collaborates with video artist Karen Melissa Logan and DJ VerandaPanda (aka Liam Magner). The show features lyrical riddles, one-liners, original music and video visuals.

• Msinga Arts travel to Grahamstown with their musical dance drama, Shaka Zulu – Ilembe , which can be seen in the city hall from June 21 to June 27. Directed, written and choreographed by Bongani Linda and Gerald Chagwe, it tells the story of the legendary Zulu king, who was a visionary, diplomat and military scientist.

Last, but not least, Eden College Durban is staging Haven’t A Clue in the Memory Hall on June 30, July 1 and July 2. Written and directed by Jean van Elden, the fun-filled romp sees frogs battling a disaster.

DURBAN guitarists, Guy Buttery and Nibs van der Spuy will both be performing in the Obs basement at PJ’s and the Cuervo Music room during the Grahamstown Festival.

Also at the Cuervo Music Room (on June 27) is The Pixie Bennett Band, featuring Idols’ finalist and former Howick resident, Pixie Bennett, Andrew Makin, Garth Warren and Steve Murray. Fans can look forward to hearing favourites like Mista Mista, Keep You and the latest single, So Spun.

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