Guide to Cape Town Fringe 2016 Part I: The Critter Selects

This was a pic from Cape Town Fringe 2015, so don't pay attention to the dates on the programme in the pic.

This was from Cape Town Fringe 2015, so don’t pay attention to the dates on the programme in the pic.

That hour of carefully crafted solitude. That cup of coffee. That cigarette you (possibly) no longer smoke. That sharpened 2B pencil. That Cape Town Fringe programme freshly fetched from the closest Exclusive Book store. That sense of antici….pation as you browse through the 80 shows on offer at month end.

Alternatively, that .pdf download and iPad/Tablet diary upon which you frantically tap selections while stuck in afternoon traffic on the M3/N1/N2/M5. (Note the difference in tone and why I prefer a 20th Century version of time management – 19th Century if I can get it)

Either way, that delightful avidity so akin to sepia-toned memories of a stack of soon-to-be-opened presents beneath the Christmas tree, can turn to trepidation as the ticket-buying budget is balanced against the desire for some sense of semi-certainty that hopes of satisfying theatre will not be disappointed by your choices.

The carefully carved period of Cape Town Fringe contemplation shattered by a desperate Googling for opinion against which to weigh a slew of PR loaded impressions, the calculus of caffeine kicks in, the surge of traffic trundles tepidly on, the ticket-buying budget lapses into danger of being spent on milk, bread, toilet paper and other material objects that fail to feed the soul.

But, the search leads here. Finally. A font of fastidious Cape Town Fringe production information to guide ticket purchasing decisions.

For what lies ahead is a collection of (fastidiously collected) blurbs and links to reviews of the very few shows which appeared at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and are playing again at the Cape Town Fringe (for fringe is not a ‘best of’ from NAF – that would be silly) and reviews of shows some of the directors and actors who are bringing new work to the Cape Town Fringe have staged before. This, it is hoped, will provide some inkling, a clue, as to whether you might like to see what they do that is new.

Thus for your benefit, dear reader, we (me) have extensively searched this site to provide one-liners, quotes, kickers and illuminating links to 30 of the 80 shows playing at the Cape Town Fringe between 22 September to 28 October. If you haven’t seen the Cape Town Fringe programme, click here.

We shall do this alphabetically, from Y to B.

You Suck: Klara van Wyk is the chick at skool who throwed you with gravel outside the bike shed but you didn’t mind ’cause the way those Hello Kitty hairclips bobbed around in her ponytails jus’ made you wanna rugby tackle some main ou ’cause she jus’ made you feel so lus. She’s mos uncooler as Jack Parow.

On at the Cape Town Fringe from 1 – 5 October. Check The Critter review here.

Woza Albert: “Although the audience howls with laughter throughout – the script hits with hilarious wave after wave – like a dangerous undercurrent, incredibly incisive commentary sucks us back to reality…one of slickest and sharpest shows I’ve seen at fest.”

On at the Cape Town Fringe from 1 – 7 October. Check The Critter review here.

When Lion Had Wings: Two years ago, director Vincent Meyburgh put !Kai – A Little Death on at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe. It was pertinent and “a lovely production that hits some difficult notes, in interesting ways”. The puppets were expertly crafted, the story was compelling and the musicians alone were a good reason to go.

There is only one performance of his new work, on the Grand Parade on the last day of Cape Town Fringe (8 October) and it’s free so there’s no reason not to see it. If you have sprogs, take them along.

Ubuze Bam: “What the performers of Ubuze Bam do in telling their truths, is allow us to look at our own truths.”

“…excellent use of staging…”

“..the play is crafted into a reflection of the journey from incarceration to the other side.”

On at the Cape Town Fringe from 30 September to 3 October. See review here.

Stof Rooi: Last year Jason Jacobs, who wrote, directs and acts in Stof Rooi, was one of two performers in in Ashes at the National Arts Festival. Ashes  was “a piercing, authentic and brutal blow to the heart”. It was Stefan Erasmus’ and Jacobs’ acting skill (no doubt carefully crafted by director Philip Rademeyer) “that draw us so deeply into the mother’s care, the father’s despair, the gangster’s disgust, the bystander’s confused helplessness, and the two boyfriends’ true love for each other”.

We reckon it’s worthwhile checking what Jacobs has planned for the Cape Town Fringe from 29 September to 3 October.

Sacre for One: Playing with a remote-controlled digger-loader, Alan Parker twisted strange tears of joyful nostalgia out of us in Detritus for One at last year’s Cape Town Fringe. In this his second of what is hopefully a trilogy, performed at the National Arts Festival this year, he again steps through the history of dance to deliver another “sensitive and tender offering” that you must go and see. He makes physical theatre “so human one cannot look away”.

With only three shows at the Cape Town Fringe from 30 September to 2 October, this is a show you should not miss. Review here.

Odysseus Finn: The Critter has the Eminent Anneke Jansen who founded and captained the Fuken Amazing Amsterdam Fringe for ten years ON RECORD saying she was once so impressed with New Yorker Michael McQuilkin’s theatrical professionalism that she would have married him right then, were she not already hitched to the fantastic Jeroen. That, from the tall red-haired highly regarded Dutch dame, is high praise.

On and off at the Cape Town Fringe from 23 September to 2 October, this is a gem plucked from the World Fringe Alliance.

Nomadic Orchestra: Checked them playing on the street outside the Long Table during the National Arts Festival two years back. I’d go see these funky dudes who play the tuba.

One show at the Cape Town Fringe on 30 September.

Monster: Weird disturbing shit from Kei-Ella Loewe. Horror is moerse hard to do on stage but she had us knyping in the stalls, and relieving us with an occasional laugh. Saw it as her final year student production so didn’t review it, but we will now.

On and off at the Cape Town Fringe from 27 September to 8 October.

Memorable Moments with Stuart Lightbody: Some people come out of Stuart’s magic shows with completely bewildered expressions, others want to burn him at the stake. His Sleepless Dreams show at Cape Town Fringe last year was superb entertainment”.

“Every moment is met with complete confoundedness; the audience reacts with ‘wow’, ‘no way’, ‘what?’ ‘yoh!’.”

His new show is on at Cape Town Fringe on 22 – 25 September.

Machine Makes Man: It’s New Yorker Michael McQuilkin again so see the entry on Odysseus Finn and our review of Machine Makes Man here where we skeem the show will leave you “feeling apprehensive yet hopeful at the prospect of life at the interface between technology and flesh”.

“The characters are beautifully rendered by both performers, so good in fact that it looks like they’re not even trying.”

On at the Cape Town Fringe from 22 – 29 September.

Immortal: “The cruelty of God, stone and the Kowie Railway Company is finely explored in Peter Terry’s dramatisation of the April 22 1911 Blaauwkrantz bridge disaster,” is what we wrote about the showing at the National Arts Festival a few months ago, in which Jenna Dunster gave “a captivating performance as she takes the audience on an exciting family adventure on the train to Port Alfred for a sea-side holiday and which she masterfully builds to the return trip disaster”.

On at the Cape Town Fringe from 22 – 27 September, read our NAF review here.

Holy Contract: The lead actor in this play is Khayalethu Anthony, whose performance we punted in The Champion at the National Arts Festival two years ago. We said: “Anthony’s performance is so invested and accessible, we ride along, taking in every detail.”

It’ll be good to see him on stage again, with other performers, at the Cape Town Fringe from 4 – 8 October.

Hatchetman: We didn’t smaak this band so much at Cape Town Fringe last year (review here ), basically dissing them as a Crosby, Stills and Nash rip-off. But they were so gracious about the dissing, and NAF CEO Tony Lankester, who reckons he knows a thing or two about music ’cause he was in radio and stuff, really digs them. So maybe, just possibly, there might be the slightest chance we were off beam. Stranger things have happened.

Check our chips out for yourself when they play at Cape Town Fringe between 22 and 28 September.

The Gruffalo: If you have a sprog of your own, or a niece, nephew or anything resembling a rugrat within a 100 mile radius, you’ll know about the Gruffalo books. Now it’s a play and we’re all keen to check how director Tara Notcutt (who we have praised and dissed ’cause we love her and live in hope she’ll invite us to tea one day) is gonna use her deft talent to reproduce the laughter and wonder of all that bedtime reading.

This one is gonna be booked up so move fast to catch it at Cape Town Fringe between 22 September and 3 October.

Glitter Girls: Directing this apparent pop piece is Aaron McIlroy, who is like the Abba of SA theatre; we roll our eyes but then enjoy it with Guilty Pleasure. (That’s a link to a review, just in case you weren’t sure) He’s not performing in this show but Lisa Bobbert is, with others. So hey, given this pair’s penchant for pleasant, and unsettling, surprises, you may get more than what the cover offers.

Don’t be snobs like us, go have fun with them at the Cape Town Fringe from 30 September to 3 October.

OKAY, that’s 17 for now, there’s another 13 or so blurb thingies to come in part two of our Cape Town Fringe info for your perusal series. PLUS, do choose a few shows that we know nothing about ’cause then you can say you discovered them first and tell use we owe you a drink.

Part two will be published soon, soon as we can pay the rent. Now where is that bottle of wine? Dammit!








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