This is a photograph by Steve Kretzmann, not of him.
If it’s just sinking in that the Cape Town Fringe is happening. That’s okay, we love you anyway. It’s also okay because, although a lot of shows have been and gone, there’s still a week of fest left and there’s a lot of great stuff coming up, or still happening.
If you’ve been having it, you’re one of those special people who know good shit and people should follow you. You’re also probably not from Cape Town. Big ups. Spread the word.
Just in case you’re joining us for the first time, this thing called ‘fringe’ is a celebration of theatre, dance and music created and produced by artists. There’s no middleman (person) here giving artists briefs and orders. There simply a platform, created by the National Arts Festival, on which 104 different groups of artists are able to present shows. It’s curated, sure, it has to be because only so many shows can be staged (if you want one of the only uncurated fringes on the planet, you have to go to the fest in Grahamstown). That there are so many artists with work to show amidst the madness swirling around our world and a few greedy fuckers keeping all the cash and not giving us any is in itself a heartening sign that in spite of all the kak, artists gonna art, makers gonna make.
Anyway. So ja, you wanna tune in to the beat of what people are saying, how all this good and bad and fantastic and kak stuff that involves being human is filtered, cogitated, condensed, distilled, put through the wringer, and handed back as gems of understanding glinting with ideas.
Sure, often those gems might be roughly cut, dusty, unpolished and frankly, pretty dull. You might end up sitting there, as I did after One Big Blink (no sorry I haven’t reviewed it. But I might) going What The Fuck?
In fact so far, it gets the Critter’s Cape Town Fringe WTF Award.
But you know what, we watch bad theatre so you don’t have to.
Yeah, that’s a smart line, I know. I been thinking of putting it on a t-shirt. But it doesn’t tell the whole truth. Even the kakkest shows are worth their money because what you’re paying for is allowing the space for people to think, and to play. And that is a good thing. It’s worth a lot.
Because that space also creates amazing works that can hit a spot somewhere inside our chests or our heads, that sets up all these resonating strings and we hum for weeks. Sometimes a lifetime.
Now The Critter has watched a few things so far, and kept an ear to the ground. You get the benefit of all that eavesdropping.
Thus without further ado: The Critter’s Cape Town Fringe last stretch gig guide:
You got childhood, witchcraft, deceit and disobedience overcome by the ‘dance of love’. Sounds like Little Red Riding Hood, only decolonised, or never colonised. It’s tale of the real deal that children aged 9 to 14 (Grades 4 – 7) live through, put together by Thando Baliso.
Thando has come through the Artscape Arts Incubator and was involved in creating the play Everyone Has It which won Best Script at the inaugural Arts Incubator’s Trade Fair earlier this year. He’s also been to Denmark with kief people to learn how to make theatre for children so take yourself and your children to watch this at the Makukhanye Art Room. Each show is on at 10am and it’s school holidays. So do it.
Edge of Light:
It’s directed by Wynne Bredenkamp, who, besides having a cool name, directed a play we loved. It also has a promising cast of Andrew Laubscher, who has yet to disappoint, as well as Sarah Potter, Margot Wood and Emma Kotze. Got a kief photo in the programme too but I’ve heard whisperings that it doesn’t live up to expectations. Go decide for yourself.
This one looks heavy, and intriguing. Between the lines the blurb promises to illuminate a tradition of women having to pay for the sins of their male family members. It’s a first-time script from writer Gertude Vimbayi Munhamo and Critter is curious. It also has a percussionist. This could be a good thing.
Dig the title. Sounds like they’re gonna lay into a lotta bullshit. Say things that need to be said. It’s comedy and it’s existential and it has Khayalethu Mofu who directed The Champion performing in it with Katharien de Villiers.
Only one show left, on the 5th.
Jax and Gina.
Ok so I saw these two. There were six of us in the Fringe Club. The venue felt cavernous and comedians Chantal ‘Jax’ Venter and Eugene ‘Gina’ Mathews did their best to warm it up. We did too (well, the other five did) and despite a lame entry repartee that was devoid of spark, they each got some love from us. With a bit more to go around they might be your thing. Especially if you enjoy the lesbian vs gay cliché.
It’s been around. Won the Zwakala Festival at the Market Theatre in 2013 and got Kulani Nkuna asking some questions about mental illness and how the spaces we inhabit affect our mind. He reckoned “The narrative moves swiftly and sometimes violently, combining drama and quiet humour to pique the audience’s interest throughout.” Yep, tick that one. Only one show left, on the 4th.
Police Cops in Space
Swooosh! Whoosh! Wow!
This is the show everyone has been waiting for. Audiences love them, dogs lick them and The Critter thought this bunch of blokes from London were ridiculously ridiculous in last year’s Police Cops, without even going into space.
It’s going to be madcap. You’ll love it. Yes you will.
This is made by a bunch calling themselves the Sugar-Daddy Co. And it’s an adaptation of the novel by Eugene O’Neill. C’mon, you gonna want an opinion.
Moves from Makukhanye where The Critter saw it and goes to the Alexander Bar in Strand Street this week so you have no excuses. It’s a Fresh Fringe Award nominee. Take a hit.
There’s Holy Plan B and The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy to look forward to this week. Sarah wrote about them in our first Fringe Guide. We’ve only heard good things about Tswalo which runs this week, and see what the AFDA students are getting up to on The Couch.
There’s also music every day at the Alma Cafe, the coolest little venue in what must be the shortest street in Cape Town. If you missed Samthing Soweto there this past week, well, Eish! Askies. You can make it up to yourself by making sure you don’t miss Ernestine Deane on Wednesday.
If you do miss her (be quick, Alma Cafe has only 50 seats), you can try lose your blues with a laugh at the Fringe Club, where stand-ups like Nkosinathi Maki will do your best to provide some happiness therapy.
There’s a lot of other shows going down this week that I haven’t covered simply because I’m human. Read your own bloody programme now.
- This article was sponsored by National Arts Festival