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“They weaved seamlessly through high octane indie rock songs, power ballads and heartfelt acoustic tunes – making for a fully rounded, world-class show that would give any equivalent a run for its money.”

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Those who have gone through ‘The Big Change’ will find a lot of truths in the play. I can say this with certainty as the ladies around me could not stop laughing, clapping, and fanning themselves with a pamphlet. As for the rest of us… it is a horror story.

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The Bird Watchers is the latest offering from Fugard’s pen. This production is the premier staging, and before the play even started my eye was caught by the beautiful set design by Saul Radomsky.

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With his simple lines Zapiro captures the essence of those who make the news. And in this, his latest exhibition,n Zapiro celebrates one of South Africa’s biggest news makers: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

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This year’s theme was ‘Larger than Life’ and entertainers included Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley-themed stilt walkers and Vegas-style showgirls.

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The stage looked spectacular and the girls carrying the awards looked like the love child of a fairy and Lady Gaga. Comedy act Corné and Twakkie hosted the awards, with and without a full set of clothing.

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Traversing the frontier between art and documentary, The Line is a witty, relevant and politically salient production.

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Undoubtedly Sylvia Strike’s meticulous direction has succeeded in vandalising the classical work, but with such style as to pay it the greatest homage whilst reviving it for a modern audience.

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Venus in Fur is a play within a play inspired by Sacher-Masoch’s novel within a novel, Venus in Furs. The 1870 novella was a few decades ahead of its time exploring masochism – in fact it is credited for inspiring the term.

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An acoustic performance to a small audience tests true musicality in its purest form. And likewise, as an audience member, you too have to focus all your attention on the music. Thus all other distractions were set aside and Zebra & Giraffe ‘stripped down’ won me over in a couple of (heart)beats.

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South Africa’s talented superstar Inge Beckman was thus received with electrified excitement, when she dramatically appeared out of the smoke with band members Paul Ressel, Simon “Fuzzy” Ratcliffe and Sean Ou Tim.

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Ravel’s Left Hand Concerto starts off in the dark hues of disdain and hopelessness. The pianist’s left hand then makes a grand entrance in a savage and utterly impressive cadenza… I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking – somewhat ironically – that I’d give my right arm to play like that.

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Most exciting were the productions which straddled multiple theatre formats. The Door by Grahamstown-based physical theatre company Ubom! was a multimedia feast of visuals which saw mobile doors dance across the stage as a reinterpretation of conventional puppets accompanied by live visuals on an overhead projector.

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This performance was like a balloon that was slowly deflating. At first I was intrigued by the rooftop set design – a marked change from the original setting of a palace.

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Brilliantly executed in charcoal, some of the faces are of real people, others imagined; all have been photographed so that acclaimed artist, Richard Smith, can keep reworking them – he carefully builds up, erases, puts back… I found myself standing close up to the huge pictures (typically well over a metre in height) staring in admiration at the huge detail and technical brilliance of each face, and marvelling at their impact.

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The stars of the show are in fact the large drawings of Indigenous Trees. As many others of his works, these appear to be full of southern Africa references. Previously overtly political, now more poetic and natural, these images of indigenous trees are especially enduring and endearing. Kentridge uses his characteristic black Indian ink to draw over the tiny black typeface of old technical, adding meaning, or not, to the form. Each drawing, well over a metre wide, Kentridge has put together as a puzzle – first painting single pages and then piecing them together. There are seven in the series, and despite their hefty price tags of over R 1 million each, these will no doubt be snapped up by collectors.

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Their most recent event, 2nd Wave, catered to every gamer’s desires. Over pizzas, more than 80 gamers, writers, developers and lecturers discussed forthcoming attractions, with Xbox ambassador, Glenn Alexander welcoming and thanking all guests and sponsors.

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Bullets over Bishop Lavis. You don’t have to be from Cape Town or ‘the Flats’ to recognise the association between Bishop Lavis and gangsterism. But there’s always more to any story and that’s what Bullets over Bishop Lavis is about… the story behind the life-changing moment. The moment captured in the flicker of a single gunshot.

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Nonetheless as the show progressed, Howlett’s supple soprano sashayed through arias and eased effortlessly through Debussy, Mozart and Puccini. Her range and skill and her easy, pleasant interpretation of the music was aurally opulent.

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They touch upon the rituals of rugby including an entertaining take on the institution of the South African braai, complete with the women preparing a potato salad that nobody eats. “Everybody eats my potato salad,” piped up a woman from the audience and thus “potato salad” was immediately worked into the show as the get out of jail free card if they wanted to change the direction or pace of the comedy.

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From the moment this album kicks off with its title track it feels like you’ve been transported back to a time circa 1960 where that raw rock ‘n’ roll sound was more rebellious even than the first miniskirt. Into The Primitive is bursting with energy, catchy riffs and mesmerizing melodies and each of the 13 tracks will have you wanting to wildly shake some part of your body.

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From the first note to the last, this was a fun, inspiring, engaging and quite simply brilliant concert. The members of Harmonic Brass evidently enjoy their time on stage, proving that it is possible to be serious about one’s art while still having fun.

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GrandWest’s Grand Arena was set up for a different kind of rock show on Sunday night. No railings to keep the Golden Circle from the General Standing. Instead, the area usually reserved for pushing and shoving was packed with sensibly lined up chairs. This is the standard setup for older bands whose audience, it can be presumed, are less likely to enjoy the jostling favoured by younger crowds.

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