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“This production of Annie delivers a refreshing energy to an old-fashioned tale while at the same time paying homage to the glory days of great chocolate box-style theatre productions.”

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“The relentless choreography demands a high level of athleticism from the dancers – who seem to be constantly diving, tumbling, rolling, lifting and throwing both themselves and each other across the stage.”

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Kathleen Tagg & Andre Petersen: two accomplished pianists, one residing in New York and the other in Cape Town. Both were born in South Africa and they grew up within a few kilometres of one another, although in the different worlds of a country divided by apartheid. They met while studying music at UCT, which is why they chose the title Where Worlds Collide for their album and CD launch concert at the Baxter’s Concert Hall. This collision happened on many levels, as the audience learned soon after they were seated.

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“After a seven year hiatus, international rock band Live treated a packed Grand West Arena to a wall of nostalgic, 90s post-grunge that had audience members screaming and spilling beer all over their 40-something spouses and friends.”

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I know that liking a politician for their appearance is as shallow as choosing a racehorse for its name or a wine for its label, but, well… I am that shallow. I am more likely to be found reading the derring-do exploits of The Four Marys from the Bunty Annual 1965 than perusing the political pages of the papers, but for what it’s worth, I liked the fact that Thabo Mbeki was always immaculately tailored just as I liked his upright posture, his quiet demeanour and his reputation for academia. [Read more…]

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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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