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NAF FRINGE FESTIVAL (article first published : 2007-06-19)

The buzz has started! The National Arts Festival Fringe is open for bookings at Computicket nationwide. All nine provinces are represented in a marvellous spread of cross-cultural entertainment, with comedy, children's theatre, film, physical theatre, dance, drama and music. Visit www.nafest.co.za and take a peek at what's on the menu for 2007.

Andrew Buckland's new physical theatre piece, Voetsek! and Lisa Bobbert's off-the-wall comedy Chronicles of a Car Guard are just two of the 70-odd premières on the Fringe. Phyllis Klotz and Smal Ndaba's award-winning drama, D.E.T Boys High, returns 16 years after its sensational debut in Grahamstown in 1991. Nicholas Ellenbogen's (Theatre for Africa) Raiders series continues into its 17th year with Rasputin's Rectangle and the Melisizwe Community Theatre make a welcome return with their 2006 sell-out Fringe comedy Herebedesh.

FTH: Khulumakahle's hearing and deaf theatre-makers romp into the world of fairytales, romance and courage in Gumbo; Paul Slabolepszy tees off with his new comedy Not the Big Easy; and Athena Mazarakis mixes physical theatre with digital art in Coming To.

Daniel Buckland's adaptation of the children's classic by Laurence Ansholt results in an environmentally-friendly Eco-Wolf and the 3 Pigs; the Cape Junior Ballet offer an electrifying cross-cultural dance extravaganza, Facets of Africa; and professional storyteller Nomsa Mdlalose conjures spell-binding tales out of African history, folklore and personal experience in Storytelling Performance.

Bongani Linda spins the tale of a magnificently multi-racial family's journey to racial harmony in Carrot Sisters, the Voice of Glory Choir concerts, To Know Him… interlace African gospel music with traditional hymns; and Gys and Jaci de Villiers' musical history, Die Afrikaner 300, is a high-energy, humorous cabaret encapsulating the essence of the Afrikaner.

There are a host of stand-up comedians on the roll-call - Martin Davis, Mark Sampson, Cokey Falkow, Dave Levinsohn, Martin Evans, Stuart Taylor, Nik Rabinowitz, to name but a few. Annual favourites like the Cape Dance Company, Andrew Tracey's Steelband, Rob van Vuuren and Louw Venter (The Most Amazing Show), and Sidesplitting Stef (Juncker) will be back in town.

The Glass Contraption Company is bringing five New York clowns to Grahamstown for Ridiculosity. Ethiopia's Bluenile Promotions are packing a uni-cycle for the trip down south with their circus act presentation, Cultural Footing. Also flying in are the Weaver Hughes Ensemble from London (Remembering You Like Something I'd Forgotten), Nanzikambe Productions from Malawi (Accidental Death of Democracy) and Khambala Productions (Swaziland) with Jabulile!From Botswana Diphale presents Traditional Tswana Dances and Marapula School's Co@Maitisong, Athol Fugard's Blood Knot.

This is just the tip of the iceberg but reveals the incredible diversity of the productions on offer on the Fringe. 250 productions will grace Grahamstown stages in magically transformed school and church halls. Some of these will be picked up by national and international agents, promoters and production houses and whisked into the limelight - wouldn't you like to say you saw them first in G'town?

Don't miss the arts and culture event of the year - June 28 to July 7! Booking Kits are available at selected Standard Bank branches and Computicket outlets. For more information, phone the Festival hot line on 046 603 1103/1164, or visit the website www.nafest.co.za

The National Arts Festival is proudly supported by The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and The National Arts Council.




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