KZN’S fringe benefits

2011-06-18 00:00

Dance

DURBAN’S Flatfoot Dance Company will be presenting Bhakti!, a dance theatre work that explores the meeting of Eastern mystical philosophy and African contemporary dance rhythms. Bhakti!, the Sanskrit word for devotion, also features word rhymes by poet Iain “Ewok” Robinson. See it at the Great Hall on July 8 and July 9. Tickets between R60 and R85.

Another dance production heading to the festival is Isigekle, a musical dance production by the KwaNgono Rural Women and Youth Development Project, which fuses dance pieces of the Isigekle and uShamani with traditional music. The production has been performed in Nkandla and for King Goodwill Zwelithini. See it at the Recreation Centre from June 30 to July 3.

Drama

DRAMA highlights on the Fringe include Umsindo Theatre Projects’ To Be Like This Rock, written by Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Drama 2011 Neil Coppen. The play tells the harrowing story of five girls who come together working in a quarry breaking rocks. Taken from their homes into human trafficking, their lives feed the sex trade. See it in the Kinetics Hall from July 4 to July 7.

Pietermaritzburg actress Mandisa Haarhof will be heading to the festival with her delightful one-hander Crush Hopper, which won the audience favourite award at this year’s annual Musho! Festival for One and Two-Handers Theatre in January.

Conceived, written and created by Haarhof, in collaboration with director Ntokozo Madlala, Crush Hopper is the true story of a young woman searching for love and identity in the midst of trying circumstances. Through crushing and crushes, she finds a way to cope with her displacement and an escape from her numbing reality. See it at the B2 Arena from July 4 to July 6.

New Durban theatre company Just In Time Productions is headed to the festival with three shows – A Plague of Heroes, Sitting Around the Fire and Uthembalethu-Tshepang – all of which enjoyed successful runs at the Playhouse Loft Theatre recently.

A Plague of Heroes, which stars Thami Mbongo, tells the semi-autobiographical story of Vusi Mazibuko from gangster to paraplegic and spokesperson for people with disabilities; Sitting Around The Fire tells the story of four streetwise children who have their lives changed following a chance meeting with an old man; and Uthembalethu-Tshepang is the Zulu-language version of Lara Newton’s acclaimed play, Tshepang, based on the rape of baby Tshepang. All three plays will be staged at the Glennie Hall between July 5 and July 10.

Cabaret/Revue

ROBERT Ian Caldwell and Jeff Judge’s musical revue A Green Number can be seen in the Graham Hotel from July 2 to July 7. Caldwell, a physician based in Hilton, has never run a Comrades Marathon, but this year’s festival marks his 10th appearance since 1985. Caldwell’s debut on the Grahamstown Festival Fringe was in 1985 with Trial by Surjury. His first one-man show was Shaggy Doggs and Flannelled Fools in 1989.

Judge, who leads the joint St Anne’s and Hilton College jazz and concert bands, is the former director of music at Kingswood College in Grahamstown, Kearsney College and St Anne’s, Hilton. He also created original music score for Persephone, celebrating the school’s new theatre, and performed in jazz concerts at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival in 2000 and 2001.

The pair have performed together since 2001, at soirées at homes and private venues, often for fundraising purposes. This will be their third Grahamstown collaboration. Tickets are between R28 and R35.

Another KZN production headed to the festival is Msinga Arts’ Umhlanga’s The Reed Dance, which will be staged at the city hall from July 1 to July 6. The show is about a virgin maiden who refuses a chief’s proposal. It is told through Zulu dance routines, a capella music and acting.

Music

AMONG the many local musicians taking to the stage on the Fringe are Durban-born guitarist Guy Buttery and ex-Tree63 frontman John Ellis, who lives in Durban North, both of whom will be gigging at the Graham Hotel.

Durban hip-hop stars Luminati, Abdus, Skye Wanda and Champ, will be in action at Equilibrium and the Bots’ Urban Lounge and jazz fans can look forward to performances by Heels Over Head, Vanessa Moodley and Thando at the Bots’ Urban Lounge.

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