Take me to the river

On the last day of fest, just a day or two before I (and I suspect most of us) have to return to selling our dreams in return for lucre and security, I go see Through Blue. I knew it would be melancholy, I knew it ended on that most heartbreaking Johannes Kerkorrel song about Hillbrow, but I figured that’s ok, I would embrace the sadness. Stare straight into the heart of the abyss. I was ...

Mixed feelings for Moffie

I’ve hesitated to write anything about Bailey Snyman’s Moffie. Many friends (and festival acquaintances) weren’t too hot for it, feeling the context was ‘off’ and the performances were unmotivated and disconnected. The two early (and conflicting) reviews by Theresa Edlmann and Charl Blignaut, critiqued it insightfully but I somehow agree with both of them, at the risk of sounding like a ...

Festival finds and failures

As the last day draws ever nearer, a measure of reflection is in order on the wins and woes of the past 10 days. Having just seen Lucy Kruger singing, I think there's very little she can't do. And do well. It was her last music show so you'll have to catch her elsewhere. (Also, the bassist and drummer were remarkably fabulous.) Her Mother Milk choreography was fantastic. Her performance in ...

Do not flinch

Fear. It dictates the way we live our lives, circumscribes the places we inhabit. We huddle in our safety zones, pinned down in our circle of light. Run fast, hearts beating, head down, across the spaces between. We open our security gate, hoping there is no-one, no-thing, lying in wait. Into our car, or to the bus. Avoid eye contact. Plug your ears. The office, school, or studio. Safe ...

Easy like Sunday Morning

Running away from the wife is an old joke applied to middle-aged men competing in endurance events and ‘running from’ a domestic dispute is exactly what James Cunningham, acting as successful commercial photographer Mat, attempts to do in Sunday Morning. It is a theme that easily resonates with the audience but the beauty of Nick Warren’s script is that it deftly manages to avoid ...

Fundamental theatre

A pervasive atmosphere of violence in society prevents us from engaging with each other as fellow human beings. Instead, constantly on guard with our desire to protect ourselves, our immediate family and property, we retreat into what is familiar, colouring ‘the other’ with our own – often unacknowledged – prejudices. Race and religion are the dominant markers of ‘the other’, and ...

Mies Julie makes a mark

Yael Farber’s Mies Julie is a South African reimagining of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie (written in the late 19th century). It confronts the same issues of class distinction, and Farber deepens this interrogation by introducing local current issues of land claims, and the continuing socioeconomic distance between poor and rich after 18 years of democracy. Julie is a young white girl, ...

Daily dredge in Wacht! and Discounted

Today began with Wacht! It’s a twenty minute production that is clean and to the point. Hiske Eriks (from the Netherlands) is hilarious in her small shifts of discomfort and caution. The audience loved it as did I. The endless rituals we perform day to day which trap us in “the grind” are brought to light, when the character decided to break some rules and free herself. The gradual ...

Hol leaves you breathless

On a good day I can run 11k’s an hour for about 20 minutes. 30 at a push. I consider myself reasonably fit and healthy, but looking at Nicola Hanekom going full speed for an hour made me feel like a chain-smoking alcoholic desk jockey. Not that her legs run full speed for the entire hour, although she ‘laat wikkel daai bene’ for much of the show, being that she performs the entire piece ...

Follow the map to stars in Ster City

Ster City is great! If you can get tickets, get them. It humorously hones in on questions of language and identity. The two brilliant performers, Lindi Matshikiza and Nick Welch, blew me away with their multi-lingual, multimedia meander through South African history. They sing, they rap (to the excellent music of a "French old white man"), interchanging and remixing effortlessly between ...