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“The publicity has been particularly rich with its eye-catching photographs of strikingly lit dancers in wonderful costumes and wigs. And it more than lives up to its promise.”

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“Do you believe in magic? No? Well, you should. But you won’t have to take my word for it – the incredible cast of The Illusionists are sure to make a believer out of any skeptic.”

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Alex Glenday and Jemma Pearce are the founders and the heartbeat of a new rejuvenating detox and yoga retreat, Forage to Feast. The foundation of their philosophy is that by connecting at its source, we deepen our appreciation of our food. Alex is quick to say that this is not strictly a ‘yoga retreat’ or a ‘raw food’ retreat, but rather a combination of healthy eating and relaxation to support a gentle detox. The highlight of each day is undoubtedly the meals.

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Though Parow calls himself a lekker romantiese Afrikaans superster rapper, it’s hard to pigeonhole him into one specific genre. He would jump from heartfelt ballads to Cypress Hill-esque hard rap only to bring in DJ Naaldekoker and fall into a whole different direction by dropping langarm style Afrikaans music – ‘Kaptein span die seile’ – and then override the cheese with eardrum-popping dubstep. Try classify that mix.

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“Cancel all your plans and come – the weather is perfect.” That was the extent of the phone message.

Suddenly the light-hearted idea of a fun activity for the indistinct future had become the dauntingly solid reality of the present.
During the journey my thoughts rollercoastered between abject fear and mounting excitement. All of which could account for the number of times we got lost finding the place. But eventually we were in the halls of Skydive Cape Town.

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The language in The Swell is refined, even eloquent. The imagery is colourful and some interesting devices have been employed to help create a mystical aquatic atmosphere in sharp contrast to the waterlogged squalour of the garage. But there is no rhythm.

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“As a relentless machine of comedy and satire, the seven comedians who make up the gears of Nando’s Mass Hysteria take topical issues and ruthlessly grind them into fodder for ridicule…”

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Just when I thought she’d bewitched our senses enough with Crazy In Love a few days ago, along comes Liezl De Kock with Piet Se Optelgoed, a pernicious yet bittersweet paean to human nature, a magical trance-like dark comedy set against a polluted wasteland.

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“We used to fear our oppressors, but now we fear our own children,” laments the play’s elderly protaganist, Daniel, a reclusive well-read man who is struggling to understand the lack of discipline displayed by the youths in his community.

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It’s a lot like a drive-in, minus the cars. It delivers a night-picnic experience with a good film to watch, where you can actually feel the summer breeze brush against your cheeks and might even have to stuff a serviette at the top of your can of Coke, just in case a six-legged creature decides to take a dive in it. But that all forms part of the tranquil outdoor experience.

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Spears’ style can be described as impressionist, veering towards the abstract, particularly after his visit to America in 1947. Displayed in the Upstairs Gallery of the museum, the works range from colourful still lifes, via religious pictures, to landscapes and portraits. It is an impressive collection – much of it privately owned – and gives the onlooker a rare opportunity to thoroughly peruse Spears’ style.

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With some excellent South African artists included in the lineup, it was still a surprise to feel the energies of some of the lesser known musicians. Former Idols season 6 contestant Lloyd Cele in particular was a real icebreaker, flipping the switch from ‘gentle picnic fest’ to ‘vibey concert fest’.

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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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The audience is treated to Contemporary, Ballet, Flamenco and African Dance pieces, all of which showcase the impressive versatility of the dancers as well as giving credit to the training of the teachers and choreographers at DFA.

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Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what great weekends are made of. Add a dash of good company, a picturesque setting and a beautiful winter’s day to the mix and you have a sure-fire recipe for decadent success.

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‘Exodus’ is the first narrative Hip Hop dance work I’ve seen that maintains the energy and streetwise “cool” synonymous with hip hop while at the same time being gut-wrenchingly moving. The choreography is outstanding, drawing you inexorably into agony and grief before pushing you into the energy of revolution, so much so that the audience was cheering and eventually on its feet before the piece had even ended.

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The band went straight into a driving groove initiated by enthusiastic drummer Bruce Cox, followed by bassist Dwayne Dolphin looking as calm and laid back as if he was relaxing at a seaside resort. Guitarist Reggie Ward and pianist Peter Madsen followed suit. Then Wesley blared into action, shooting off a couple of melodic ideas, which were coupled by the powerhouse horn section. The horns – Wesley, trumpeter Gary Winters, and tenor saxophonist Phillip Whack – created a full body of sound that left a lasting dent on your musical soul. The section had an immense sense of dynamics, control and balance; even the way they bent and scooped notes in unison was impressive.

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CTCB’s Maynardville season presents Night & Day, a ballet set to the music of Cole Porter. Maynardville’s open-air theatre is always a pleasure to experience, and with the stars twinkling above it offers the perfect setting for this glitzy production. As expected, there are lots of colourful, high-energy pieces, with the dancers doing a great job to maintain their bounce and pizzazz throughout.

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“By looking back, Orpheus may have failed to bring his beloved back to life, but Cape Town Opera’s forward-looking Orfeo managed to create a novel and current theatrical experience with a 400 year old soul.”

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“This premiere collaboration provides terrific innovation in its unique rendition of traditional circus legacy. Indeed, it is an evolved and spectacular show with all the razzmatazz trimmings of a bygone era.”

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Find out what ‘artisanal food’ entails from people who are passionate about making and sourcing it on the beautiful Franschhoek Artisan Food Route. It’s all about enjoying the beauty of food in its simplicity, while learning about the ethics, hard work and attention to detail that goes into the creation of natural, top-quality cuisine.

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“Wait is the type of energetic, impassioned musical production suited to a more stupendous setting than a Fringe stage can offer; one on which its subject can be expounded rather than merely imagined.”

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“Perhaps because it deals with these mysteries, or perhaps because it’s just so damn hilarious, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change continues its global runaway success in Camps Bay this season – a mature 20 years since it was written.”

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Despite its elegance there is a certain sturdiness to the restaurant that can withstand the ravages of children. We took four along with us, aged between 7 and 11. Again, their food was pretty standard fare but they loved the apparent poshness of it all. And their eyes lit up at the dedicated kids’ playroom. Needless to say they spurned the Lego wall and the colouring books and instead, supervised by an enthusiastic childminder, they played ping pong on the Xbox. With a large glass window between the playroom and the restaurant, parents can keep half an eye on their offspring with all the ease of visiting an aquarium.

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Thanks to a lift with a mind of its own I’d managed to get a bit lost in the tangled maze of corridors behind the Opera House. It was fun to imagine them on an ordinary working day, filled with a buzz of scales and arpeggios, toe tapping and Kids from Fame-like shenanigans, love trysts and leg warmers. I stopped short of doing a little samba, á la Patrick Swayze, down the length of the deserted hallway… but it was tempting.

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“Few musicals are as thought-provoking and informative as Rice and Lloyd Weber’s Evita, and Toerien strikes just the right balance in his production.”

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The third and final step is into the Tent of Dreams itself, the domain of Madame Zingara, a three levelled velvet speigeltent echoing with the ghosts of 100 years. What daylight is left trickles through two rings of small windows at the top of the first and second tiers, supplemented by the flickering candlelight from 70 tables reflected a thousand times from the many mirrors lining the walls. The spell is complete, and the entertainment is only just beginning.

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But men are useful for some things, and not only was Searle good eye-candy but he used his dancing background to add a new dimension into the play. His choreography was colourful and contemporary. The Toothbrush Tango performed with Harris was my highlight of the play.

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