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Grant Jacobs is truly impressive as the myriad of characters involved in the story, delivering his lines with energy and pinpoint accuracy through the various anecdotes, songs and poems – a clear indication of a talented and well-prepared actor, and one to whom the audience responded in spades.

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Lifting the Artscape curtain is to be hurled into 18th century Europe. Royalty and wealth spill over the edges of the stage with reds and golds and exuberant costumes – intricately fitted corsets, enormous bulging skirts and powdered wigs on men’s heads.

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Engelbert Humperdinck is 79 years old, but after almost two hours of crooning and plenty of moves, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s an evening of his best-known hits, a couple of covers and some of his new material – the perfect mix of old and new to provide a brilliant night’s entertainment.

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“… A thronging mass of amazing artists, legends from all corners of the music industry, and all of them potential collaborators”

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“My Fat Friend makes you cringe at the social implications, while being thoroughly entertained. It’s a simply delightful piece with fine acting.”

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For one night only, in the middle of the Fringe Festival, MC and funnyman Rob van Vuuren played host to The Very Big Comedy Show – basically a night of previews to the other comedy shows on the Fringe programme. Perhaps it had been a long day in City Hall 4 for the comedic troops, but there was a distinct hint of desperation in the air.

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From experts to amateur tasters, the WineX is a hub of knowledge for everyone. As UCT student Chelsea Wallace said, “I had lots of fun and all the stalls had people who knew what they were talking about.

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“The uniquely African feel of this merry-go-round of romance, pranks and masquerades transcends the allusiveness that can sometimes accompany a Shakespeare play.”

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“But with Dido & Aeneas – their first fully-staged opera – they have succeeded in producing a piece of theatre that is musically, dramatically and visually exciting. To say that they blew my preconceived ideas out of the water is an understatement.”

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“We get to see a different side to this man of so many faces – the face of solitude, the face of family, the supporter of his Darling community, the raw talent that leads him into every single performance unrehearsed and ready for whatever the audience or the current political state of affairs might throw at him.”

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This exhibition is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Many of these young men and women are likely to end up the victims of their surroundings, but for all of them there is hope, particularly at the very moment captured on film. Even for those gangsters portrayed in Life After there is hope, as hinted at in the very name of the essay and the exhibition.

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Peachy Keen took the stage to a packed Mercury and immediately had the crowd dancing to a series of pop-esque rockabilly jams from their new album, Backseat Bingo.

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Everyone thinks that their parents are embarrassing. Tracy Klass’s kids certainly have every reason to think so. But she is not my mother and therefore she is in fact very funny. She makes me look forward to embarrassing my own kids.

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The structure of the stage is intriguing. Almost bare, it has no wings or legs on the sides, effectively increasing the size of the stage space. A descending platform and an interesting veil separating the stage from the audience, add up to a stage design that works.

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What I saw was art, spilled out onto those ramshackle streets that are so (embarrassingly) unfamiliar to me. Dancers on street corners, poets in playgrounds, pictures hung on walls and an audience made up of those of us there specifically for the Kasi-2-Kasi Public Arts Festival (the minority) and people off the streets (the majority) – kids in their swimming costumes standing in front of their gates, taxi drivers stopping in the middle of the road, passing cars filled with people craning their necks to see.

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Johnny Clegg loves little more than interacting with the audience. His years as an anthropology lecturer still shine through strongly, and he took long breaks between songs to relate tales from his past, reminiscing about the people he had met and the things he had learned from them. At one point he caught himself and smiled, admitting to being a talkative guy. And continued talking.

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Last week Nathi Comedy hosted several names in a fantastic line-up. Peter Sserwanga was the first act and an MC of sorts for the evening. He started the event by reminding everyone that “we love making people laugh, it is our calling,” and all the comedians took to the stage with gusto and enthusiasm

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And this is exactly why Tuning the Vine is the perfect kind of wine festival for philistines. A new festival on the annual Cape Town calendar, it has a distinct agenda: to remove the perceived snobbery and make wine tasting, wine drinking, and wine making fun and accessible. It does it well.

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Never did I think I’d see world-class contemporary dance performed to the sacred choral sounds of
Bach. How ingenious. Hats off to Hinkel and his team for choreography that is raw, complex and to
the point.

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Forget the term “razor-sharp wit”. Instead, prepare yourself for satire that hits more like a stabbing javelin. Gut-bustingly funny, while at the same time underlining South Africa’s sad political state, Return of the Ancestors shines a spotlight on how former political activists might view the New South Africa.

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the evening involved highs – and sometimes lows – of comedic genius. The small setting of the Mash Tun room behind the main bar provides for an intimate engagement with the relatively small audience. This has little impact on the audience’s reaction to the acts though, as the quality of jokes either has the audience in genuine stitches or fall unanimously flat as punters divert their awkward reactions with long pulls on their beer.

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With his relentless busyness on stage and his child-like inability to keep still, the audience can sense the aggravation of Ivan. The way in this disturbance manifests in human form is handled with a subtle dark humour through Buckland’s exemplary comedic timing and his extraordinarily expressive physical comedy skills.

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The lone bagpiper called us to the school hall at Rhodes High School, in from a chilly winter’s night. Youngsters flitted by, all in kilts, carrying fiddles of varying sizes, gorgeous Scottish accents filling the spaces. They settled themselves on the stage, and in front of it (there are over a hundred of them, all aged between 10 and 18!) Amongst them, members of the CPYO settled too.

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If you’re getting to the “been there, done that” stage of boozy weekend festivaling, then Spiritfest may just be the breath of fresh nicotine-free air that you’ve been looking for.

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In the role of Noach, Lee-Ann van Rooi’s bellowing voice never fails to captivate the audience, its sturdiness resonating with her character’s refusal to give up hope and her will to remain sane and structured. Dannelene is a strong character that is only strengthened by van Rooi’s powerful stage presence. Her failure to falter, her insistence to retain and repeat her memories, and her undying Christian faith all come together as the guiding force that kept her afloat in times of engulfing trauma.

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