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 Fragile was fantastic. For her sheer all-rounder ability, she deserves some award perhaps?
Failures include mistakenly heading to PJs for Keepsake Minus 3, and landing up in Raiders. They obviously have a winning mass-appeal-recipe that’s had the show running in various forms for about 20 years. The audience lapped up the predictable puns. And they lapped up the prejudice and stereotyping. Call me sensitive (or protective of human rights) but my patience runs out when an apparently family oriented show uses words like “moffie”. What are we teaching our children? Perhaps I missed the satire? It was a scary, scary glimpse into the mass thought framework. And to think the venue was packed and brimming with narrow-minded approval…
A magical find was Rats! presented by Lionel Newton. Performing extracts of three works, he masterfully shared his extraordinary skill with us. I hadn’t read the programme properly, just saw his name and booked. I was ecstatic when I recognised his transformation into the miserable old Krapp, as this was a Beckett I’d been keen on presenting myself throughout my student years, but never got round to doing. His absurd obsession with bananas, and the cold loneliness of the man who once had fire in him but is a total failure now, was perfectly captured by Newton. Each sustained moment takes us deeper into the heart-wrenching misery of a wasted life and wasted love.
Finds abound at the vetkoek stall on the Village Green. Nothing makes you feel at home in the EC quite like a jam and cheese vetkoek en ‘n koppie Ricoffy.
Failures at Spur. Thanks for the WiFi but nothing else.
A real find was Wintersweet which I truly enjoyed. Genna Gardini writes a witty, clever script (adapted from Janet Fitch’s White Oleander) based firmly in South African life. It’s a moving story about a girl punted and shafted through the foster care system. Her brutally selfish mother poisons her life from prison, as she poisoned her husband years ago. Ingrid (the daughter, played by Michelle Du Plessis) lands up in desperate, sad, wonderful, and eventually illegal situations within each “home”.
Madélè Vermaak is outstanding in bringing to life Gardini’s characters who are hilariously well written, providing a rich base for Vermaak to build upon. She flawlessly moves from scene to scene, shifting character as Ingrid shifts to new homes. From the slimy and repugnant Charmaine Barker, to the nurturing and awkwardly loving Connie (who falls victim to Ingrid’s real mother), to the vile, self-serving, cruel Corenza, Vermaak taps into each character perfectly, allowing us to experience the turmoil of Ingrid’s life.
So. More wins than losses so far. Manolibera and Little Foot end my festival viewing tomorrow, and I’m confident both will inspire and satisfy. – Sarah Roberson