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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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I hesitate to refer to Afrikaburn as a festival. Or as a party. Sure, it encompasses both those things, but it is so much more than that. It is part social experiment, part hedonistic playground.

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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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From its menacing start to its unexpected end, Pieter Toerien Productions’ Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the perfect balance of grisly revenge and morbid humour; everything you could hope to experience in this iconic musical. Featuring a South African cast directed by Steven Stead, all the elements of sound, set, production, costume and cast come together flawlessly to blast the audience with a full-frontal sensory overload.

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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 museum was tranquil, yet bustling with visitors. I was impressed. There was a full mix from the artsy- fartsy art lovera, to students, young children, pensioners, tourists and ordinary Capetonians enjoying their city.

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The concert opened much the way any good concert should; with an overture. It was as if the entire frontier had opened up before the audience with the Overture from West Side Story’s cute yet epic musical arrangement.

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“Sebastian tells us how many gamers, having mastered all the levels of Call of Duty and the like, came to Shootopia with the expectation that those skills would be transferable. Not by a long shot.”

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“As the sky darkens above Kirstenbosch and the stars start to twinkle above the mountain, the audience goes wild as James takes to the stage, and the evening turns from superb to spectacular.”

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It was evident that the audience in the near capacity Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium was not going to allow even one single note of this solo performance to escape their ears and senses. And rightly so, because it is not often that we have a multiple Grammy award nominee and international competition gold medalist of in our midst.

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Each actor in the cast plays multiple roles, treating audience members to a true show of talent. As South Africans it is important for us to be able to appreciate theatre that is pure, easy entertainment – a laugh for laughter’s sake. The characters are quirky and loveable, raving mad, mentally challenged, scarily devoted to the bible, gay, lesbian, happy, lonely, sad and silly.

Funerals, Kidnappings, Swizzle Sticks and Other Distractions is a fun 80 minutes of carefree entertainment in the elegant setting of the Galloway Theatre. Grab a friend, a lover or family member to join you, but remember: no under 18s.

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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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We were still at the polo farm* and the unaccustomed exercise along with the heat and the wine were beginning to make me hallucinate. At one point I could have sworn I saw Baroness Thatcher slip into the house behind us. And yet… that unmistakeable hair, the power suit, the pair of sensible yet elegant heels disappearing through the door… I moved a little closer and could hear a distinctly low-pitched, enunciated voice giving orders. Surely it couldn’t be? [Read more…]

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Their well-established partnership allows for a natural flow through their movements, making even the transitions between the tricky pirouettes and penchés a pleasure to watch… Bösenberg’s sensitivity and vulnerability as Odette exudes from the arch of her swanlike neck to the flutterings of her raised foot against her ankle (petits battements serrés) at the end of her great adagio with Thorne, while as Odile there is a flash in her eyes which drives the drama and reveals glimpses of the cunning vixen within.

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National Women’s Day turned out to be one for the books as three of Cape Town’s most prominent dance companies – Cape Town City Ballet, Jazzart and Cape Dance Company – appeared on the same stage in one performance showcasing diverse dance styles and disciplines.

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“The use of these raw materials in her work creates textured, layered compositions that writhe and breathe, almost coming to life through interesting layered surfaces and shining metallic highlights.”

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“Bouwer is well known for his stark and shocking stage designs and Marat/Sade lives up to this, providing a visual spectacle that echoes in the memory long after the curtain drops.”

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Nonetheless, sitting and listening and swaying, I’m sure I was not alone in experiencing that moment when the eyes drift beyond the stage and up to the mountain, drinking in the sunset, the oh-so-green botany, the people, the blue sky… that moment when, with a complacent smile finding its way to your face, you hear the lyrics to ‘Waka Waka’ and nod your head in agreement to the enigmatic words, “… ‘Cos this is Africa.”

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As a wine tasting initiate, I shuffled to each table and found myself confronted with complex questions: “What would you like to try?” or “Wooded or unwooded?” to which I usually responded by staring blankly and pointing at wines with the prettiest colours.

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Directed by the esteemed John Trengrove of Hopeville fame, Love & Prozac challenges the stereotypical perception we have of that upbeat, easy-going and vibey-yet-single girl. Because as Esguiera’s carefree veneer gradually cracks, she turns some of life’s most squirming moments into roaring laughs.

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“The most appealing aspect of burlesque is having a performer share a part of her or his self with the audience; it is a privilege to witness such passionate performers.”

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“Words of War is a collection of songs and poems which speak to the pain and the joy we experience both as individuals, and collectively in the context of our South African history.”

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Words cannot do justice to the cool, ethereal sensation on the tongue when the powdery foie gras imparts the slightest hint of nutty richness as it crumbles, followed by the muted sweetness of the onion sherbet marmalade and the pickled raspberries, a light crunch of the celery, then a merging of all these elements in a cathartic display of foie gras at its best. It’s not merely a successful reconstruction of a deconstructed dish; it’s the evolution of a fine dining classic into an elevated quintessence of its exemplar form.

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