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My eye first hit a prominent guard-like figure wearing an oshimoma (initiation outfit for a boy) from the Ovimbundu people. I was reminded of the one of Cape Town’s most familiar characters – the Egg Man often seen in St George’s Mall and Greenmarket Square… only it was rather less whimsical and more eerie.

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It was one of those beautiful days in the gardens of Kirstenbosch when even the worst music could not have ruined the moment. The lawn was not too full and the people near us did not eat stinky cheese. The entertainment for the afternoon, Isochronous and kidofdoom fitted right into my plans for a lazy Sunday.

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These two maestros were utterly comfortable with their audience, perhaps because much of the audience last night was made up of family, friends and long-standing fans – invited particularly in celebration of the men’s birthdays.

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On Wednesday evening I had the jolly pleasure of viewing comedian Nik Rabinowitz’s brand new act, Stand and Deliver at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch. I’d never seen him live but my father and I are huge fans of his comedy news segment on Cape Talk Radio, The Week that Wasn’t, on Thursday mornings.

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“Dwayne, played by Paul Slabolepszy, stumbles into his workshop, out of breath, clutching a blood-stained baseball bat in his hands. Immediately, there is a sense of secrets untold.”

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“You heard it here first – seaweed is the new kale. This was one of the many talking points at Dine4Six’s collaboration with Chef’s Table at the Mt Nelson.”

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Elegant, pained and sumptuous variations on the theme of inner turmoil morphing with the external aesthetics of beauty give the ambi-gender portraits a curiously mobile intensity, akin to a blurred photo of a child on a carousel ride.

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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 Stellenbosch University Camerata and Bell gave a simply magnificent performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as a series of tangible thrills ran through the audience. The 2008 recording of Bell performing this masterpiece together with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields has been described as ‘vivid’, ‘edgy’, ‘an enthralling new reading’, and ‘shimmering with beauty’. And sure enough the performance with the Stellenbosch University Camerata offered some real ear-tingling joy.

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The annual Franschhoek Uncorked Festival is a unique wine festival that offers wine enthusiasts the opportunity to discover exciting new releases from wineries in and around the scenic Franschhoek valley. And this voyage of discovery is not limited to the confines of an oversized marquee tent… Whether it is the Franschhoek Literary Festival, the Franschhoek Uncorked Festival or the Bastille Festival, the people of this small valley certainly know how to throw a good party.

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It’s a fact by now: I cry like a baby every time I watch Madama Butterfly. It was true the first time I saw it at age ten and still held true one year ago at the Met. Tonight was certainly no exception. Mind you, I was not the only one sending my significant other digging through his pockets for tissues. As Cio-Cio-san stood watch in the night awaiting the return of her husband, mascara and noses ran free all across the Artscape Opera House.

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“Nolovuyiso Mpofu steals the show as Gilda. She sings “Caro nome” with every silvery note exuding romance. The bell-like clarity of her voice extends all the way to her most stratospheric high notes.”

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Classic miscommunication, all resolved through hilarious skits and dance-offs. Can’t agree on whose toothbrush goes where? Bring on the Toothbrush Tango.

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Bringing these two incredibly powerful solo artists together was like fighting fire with fire; dancing with fire, at the least – in a very good way. The first song was Grierson’s ‘Fighter Plane’, a love/loss/maze of perception song. Even without Beckmann’s vocals, the original song furrows a deep groove in the wood of one’s aural and emotional conscience. With her higher harmonies and almost operatic Lark voice running over Grierson’s deeper tones, I was transported; the veins of my heart taut.

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“Although the show had elements of van Coke and Carstens’ Blood Brothers performance last year, in which the duo teamed up with eight other South African legends for the Vrede Foundation, the stunning venue added to the performance like no commercial space can. Acoustics Underground is the bottle of moderately priced wine you reluctantly share, to Blood Brothers’ shot of Jose Cuervo with a slice of orange.”

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The rugby theme is just the patch of grass from which a much bigger debate is kicked off. Each of the 24 actors on stage represents a different voice of the South African psyche. In particular, the voice of the South African male. And in this group, the focus is on the white Afrikaner male. This is a demographic that once had the most powerful voice in South Africa. With the fall of apartheid – many would argue – Afrikaner men were emasculated. Much of Balbesit revolves around the lost and faded voice of the Afrikaner man and questions where he stands today.

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Who knew that student dancers would be able to stage a performance as good if not better than some professional dance companies in South Africa? It would have been quite normal to expect a no-more-than-average show from Born Frees, but under the guidance and intense training of Celeste Botha and Marlin Zoutman from New World Dance Theatre, these students of dance schools around Cape Town blew all expectations out of the water.

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“Brave Temper Trap front man, Dougy Mandagi, held it together in spite of being repeatedly zapped by an obviously dodgy electrical set up.”

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Zoom in from a backdrop of the mountains of Franschhoek to where the sun shines lazily on people lounging on picnic blankets… they tuck into heaped platters selected from groaning tables with fluttering white table cloths while gentle entertainment is provided by local bands and musicians. Surely you can’t go wrong with a festival in Franschhoek? Well, yes. Sadly you can.

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This show definitely won’t lighten the load that money places on you, but it will lift the emotional burden associated with cash, even if just for a while. Ultimately, it will change your perspective on those little coins, notes and cards in your wallet. I’ll put my money on that.

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It’s the perfect place to find trinkets and gadgets and little works of art. But mostly it’s a place to find fabulous food. Located in what could be called the armpit of Hout Bay harbour, the Bay Harbour Market is a shining beacon of trendy weekend living. Other than the expensive tarps covering the side, the building from the outside could easily be mistaken for an old fish factory.

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