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Hatched expresses deeply personal and challenging identity issues of culture, tradition and a woman’s evolving sexuality. Visually alluring to watch, Hatched opens with the sight of Nyamza wearing only a long skirt covered in wooden clothes pegs.

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When the show concluded I walked into the evening with an aimless daze – almost tearful, though it was hard to say exactly why. In my opinion the aim of effective art has been achieved here. It is simply to move, transport, and challenge its viewer.

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A lone man, dressed in a wrinkled shirt and dress pants, stands on an empty stage. Durban­-born Ryan Dittmann dances between characters; starting as the dim, partially deaf barman then switching to the desperate cougar assistant manager before transforming into the hyper-­efficient ninja/waiter Lovemore. With 10 main characters, six side characters, a number of live chickens and a frog, the audience could be forgiven for confusing the personalities.

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Through the use of creative staging, unique and evocative devices to maintain suspense, and masterful manipulation of tempo, Silent Voice is already a grand feat of pure theatrical engineering. Add to this a gripping, unnerving and unpredictable plot, and it is overwhelming.

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Nature’s ever-existing sublimity and beauty may well provide ready assembled artworks, but the photographer is doing a lot more than just snapping a tribute to these natural masterpieces. The captions on each photograph reveal an eye-widening glimpse into a photographer’s lifestyle of trekking through scourging terrains, thwarted by fire and ice. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of man and the elements.

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Then, to heartfelt applause, Sir James Galway made his long-awaited appearance with his iconic golden flute. Mozart’s Flute Concerto served as a wonderful vehicle to showcase the brilliance of this gifted flautist, who is internationally regarded as the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire. Mozart’s delightfully playful melodies, which are – typically for the Austrian composer – interwoven with musical humour, visibly enchanted the audience, many of whom could be seen shaking their heads with disbelief.

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Ranging from shadowy abstract ink, watercolour and bleach drawings to vague, almost blurred images of faces kept in mostly one colour, the paintings provide an interesting glance into what Raaff describes as “the internal landscape of the subconscious”. Each painting warrants a steady gaze, time to allow one’s thoughts to subside, and to appreciate the image on the intuitive level that is unique to every individual.

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Stalls offered solar heating and ozone systems, vinyl wall-art, paintings, jewellery, beds, walls, floors, kitchen and household appliances, security systems, homeware, cookware, sweet and savoury edibles, even a few kitchen sinks.

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Mannini Mokhutho’s seSotho poetry was a soulfully delivered lament for her politically troubled home of Lesotho. Grace Newton told us a short story about a vision she couldn’t unsee. Jared Musiker and Sipho Malunga’s Ballet Must Fall delighted the audience with ballet vignettes and individual monologues delving into the anxieties of being a black ballerina and the legitimacy of ballet as a career. Donna Cormack-Thomson and Dylan Owen gave a witty and entertaining skit with a feminist theme, and the show was finished with relish by Proboscis Prophecies, a band that’s soon due to give a full show at Alexander Bar.

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I am always overwhelmed by the magic of theatre. Luyanda Somkhene and Solomon Mashiane have created a simple, well structured, softly lit setting in which the world of Fruit takes place.

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It’s easy to be struck by the splendour of the reconstructions on which the exhibition is based. But it also imparts a mouthwatering sense of discovery, as experienced by archaeologist Howard Carter – the first pair of eyes to see the tomb in over 3000 years. Holding a lit candle to a small incision in the tomb, he was asked, “Can you see anything?”
“Yes” He answered, “Wonderful things.”

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South African audiences are in for a treat. After a two-year hiatus, the Imperial Ice Stars have returned to South Africa to present Swan Lake on Ice. In case you haven’t heard of the Ice Stars, they’re a group of world-class skaters who adapt much-loved ballets for a portable ice rink that fits on a theatre stage. For the last decade they have been performing internationally to great acclaim.

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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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We all have days of being Data Deficient, but to be globally listed as such could be rather an insult. Yet such is the fate of the Bryde whale. On further investigation, the implication is not so much that it is naturally blonde but simply that there is insufficient information about the species. This very shy mammal is estimated to number just 90 000 – that’s approximately the population of Hemel Hempstead – sprinkled throughout the vast tropical and temperate waters of the world. There have been more sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. Probably. [Read more…]

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“Sandra Prinsloo plays Martins, bringing to her character a naiveté of life with a passion for the one thing that filled her with joy: her art.”

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“The followspot soulful six are back at it, and this time they are riffing on the heart strings of everyone who loves a classic. Taking you through an alchemical medley of the songs that stood the test of time.”

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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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Between songs the cast hardly uttered a word to each other. Instead, a lot of incoherent mumbling was exchanged. As a mode of communication, this amused the crowd immensely, and more importantly it served to throw into sharp relief the crystal clarity of those same voices when singing.

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The eccentricity of the place mirrored the alternative approaches to the guitar taken by the two performers and raconteurs – Cox’s dose of wild Afro-rock fusion, and Forcione’s softer jazzy, comedic, and gypsy-styled playing.

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The band, fronted by Zolani Mahola, opened their Kirstenbosch show with the catchy ‘Buttercup’, and Zolani’s voice is possibly even more clear and spectacular when heard live than on a CD.

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Apart from being left in awe at the visual and conceptual beauty, delicacy and insight in her work Wildenboer’s collection is emotionally evocative and extremely accessible. Thus the excited, expectant and responsive attendance of her opening night comes, retrospectively, as no surprise.

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This morning I woke up with pains in my stomach and a pulsating head. I did not have a heavy night of drinking; I attended the Vodacom Funny Festival and nearly met my fate due to excessive hilarity. Thank God the weekend is here so I have a chance to recover.

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