On a limb

It’s touching, hilarious and exciting watching the NAF get into their groove far, far out from their comfort zone.

I got the tour. City Hall, acres of grand olde space meets the bunting fairie lights, the Jackson Pollock-splash logo.

Dudes in climbing helmets and harnesses stepping out the clunky little grill-door lift, and funky, weather-proofed arts lovers take the majestic marbled staircase.

This is not your over-designed glass and metal sustainable feel-good space. This is better: its’s old, high-ceilinged splendour meets upscaled, retro-fit theatre. Even Lankester looks gritty today in his sublime eirie office where the NAF crew have set up simple tables and bedecked the walls with highly-organised printouts of schedules.

It’s humble and humbling, but you know, I get the feeling that NAF is relishing the out-there gamble of it all. There’s even a wall smashed with posters.

Cape Town city has opened it’s space and added some hearty d├ęcor with letterset signage, smart blue drywalling. It’s kooky, fresh, honest and genuine.

How symbolic to see Gilly Hemphill, that warm, ever-glamorous media manager sitting at a thick-legged but small table on a plastic chair dwarfed by an enormous high-ceiling and eight other empty tables. Her first billet, so echoey we can hardly hear a word.

The Fringe Club is a Long Table already in the making and the fringe theatre family is gathering to make it noisy and divinely infamous.

The big question is no matter how many eff-ups and gremlins in the system, will Cape Town’s arts community find its rough genius to their liking?

–Mike Loewe

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