5 best of Grahamstown in Joburg

2014-07-04 10:00

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Can’t get down to Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival? No worries, the Fest is coming to Joburg. Wits University’s 969 Festival will be showing some of the best productions. Binwe Adebayo picked our five must-sees

God complex

The God Complex

Physical theatre piece starring Daniel Buckland, who is fresh off the Cirque du Soleil stage. Daniel is the son of acclaimed theatre veteran Andrew Buckland.

The piece takes a unique stance on the character of God, presenting Him as a fractured, uncertain, but brilliant figure.

Directed by Sylvaine Strike, who is the National Arts Festival’s featured artist of the year, its comedy aspects will resonate with even the most novice of festivalgoers, while the depth of the story line and performance by Buckland will thrill physical-theatre aficionados.

Tickets R40 to R50. Wits Downstairs Theatre.

July 19, 6.30pm; July 20, 2.30pm; July 27, 2pm

Maid in Mzansi

Maid in Mzansi

This student theatre production from Wits University makes its national debut at this year’s Fest. Maid in Mzansi is a devised theatre piece that covers the stories of South Africa’s domestic workers, seeking to uncover the complex relationships between maids and madams.

Unlike other work on the subject (think Madam?&?Eve), Maid in Mzansi does not take a funny, light-hearted approach, but rather hopes to engender serious thought in its audiences. Directed and performed by a young student group, it takes a fresh look at post-apartheid race, class and employment dynamics.

Tickets R40 to R50. Wits Nunnery, July 15 to 18, 6pm; July 20, 12.30pm

The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs

After selling out last year, the three-man black comedy cast of Rob Van Vuuren, James Cairns and Albert Pretorius return to Grahamstown to enthral audiences once again.

The Three Little Pigs is a gritty piece of theatre that draws on the traditional fairy tale, but replaces the story line with an epic and dark journey akin to a psychological thriller.

Instead of huffing and puffing and houses being blown down, this reincarnation deals with topical South African issues. It is a must-see for lovers of dark comedy and those who enjoy well-crafted political satire.

Tickets R40 to R50. Wits Main Theatre. July 25, 8pm; July 26, 7pm; July 27, 3.30pm

Nile is a music and dance collaboration piece, which fuses the talents of Compagnie 7273 and Sir Richard Bishop


Nile, one of the few collaboration pieces at the Fest, brings together music and dance in a piece that gives life to the famous river. It draws on the dance expertise of Swiss/French choreographers Compagnie 7273 and the skills of guitarist Sir Richard Bishop.

The performance of Nile comes after many years of creating and refining the project, and is intended to reflect the open-ended, fluid nature of the river, which is a source of life and imagination. It should provide a multidimensional experience for its audiences.

Tickets R40 to 50. Wits Main Theatre.

July 17, 8pm

Home Truths Production presents Original Skin directed by Robert Colman

Original Skin

Original Skin is the work of acclaimed poet and performance artist Phillippa Yaa De Villiers. De Villiers explores life during apartheid, drawing on her experience of being the daughter of a Ghanaian father and a German mother who was given up for adoption.

A serious, thought-provoking piece, the play is a reflection on issues relating to shame, the prejudice of the apartheid system and the quest to establish a clear identity. Although serious, De Villiers does not set out to be depressing. This is by no means a “woe is me” diatribe, but rather the story of one protagonist who likely reflects the position of so many like her.

Tickets R40 to R50. Wits Amphitheatre.

July 16, 8.45pm; July 17, 7pm

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