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BLOCKBUSTER FRINGE (article first published : 2002-06-11)

From satire to soap opera, haunting melodies to raucous Rock, the National Arts Festival Fringe, running in Grahamstown from June 29 to July 6 presents a smorgasbord of delights to satisfy every appetite.

Old favourites return, new faces challenge. What will lure audiences in 2002?

Theatre for Africa presents another in the Raiders series; Stef hypnotises his audiences with his Sidesplitting show; Bheki Mkhwane offers his new one hander Crossing Paths; and Wacky Wizard returns from the magical land of “Wizmania” to enthrall audiences both young and old. Aaron and Lisa, Buckland and Newton, Domingos and van Vuuren; Cox and Newman ...perennial favourites come up against stiff competition from a battery of new blood.

Ivan D Lucas's one-man social and political satire The Strondloper, takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of South Africa through the eyes of Ken J De Bruin (of Klonkie vol K*K fame) - a satirical barrage of biting wit, double entendres and rapid-fire comedic monologue.

Topical issues are explored in 11.09, a political satire directed by Icarus which looks at individual reactions to the events of September 11 and, in Down Adderley Street, director Itmuleng Wa-Lehulere presents a refreshingly new take on Cape Town's street children.

Kristy Suttner's all-female cast consider The Whole Six Inches and the havoc and fascination this one-eyed wonder muscle causes; the country's brightest blonde, Dowwe Dolla "doen dit staan-staan"; and in Men's Night Ben Voss explores the confused coming of age of South Africa's dying breed, the white male.

The Tshwane Youth Orchestra will use strings, winds, piano, saxophones and African drums to lure audiences to their shows; the Cathedral Creative Arts Group perform folk and other popular music on traditional handbells; and in Harp and Hammers Glenys Bannister plays a selection of favourites on the celtic harp along with some rollicking, toe-tapping, "shimmering" Irish music on the hammered-dulcimer.

Party types can groove with the hit rock 'n roll nostalgia shows Rocking and Crooning Down Memory Lane, and catch Niqui Cloete, Debra Engelbrecht and Idols finalist Buli G. in Sisters are Doing it for Themselves. Amanda Strydom brings her new theatrical masterpiece State of the Heart to the music theatre halls and Bongani Linda's uShaka KaZulu returns with its historically relevant message delivered through praise poetry and vigorous dance and song.

African dances of all description will be energetically performed by young dancers from the Zwelakwe and Tshikona Traditional Dance companies, while Underground Jungle is a collaboration between student actor/singer/dancers from San Diego and Durban.

African dances of all description will be energetically performed by young dancers from the Zwelakwe and Tshikona Traditional Dance companies, while Underground Jungle is a collaboration between student actor/singer/dancers from San Diego and Durban.

Helen Tomlinson's puppets (including "a dancing zebra and penguins performing the polka") promise to entrance audiences with animals from the world over in Animals Galore and that lovable jumbo and her friends from Addo take you along on yet another of her zany jollies in Esmerelda Elephant's Adventures.

Comedians, DJ's, actors, bands, solo artists, dancers, singers ... theatre practitioners of all genres come together to strut their stuff across Grahamstown's stages. There is something for everyone and more at the 2002 National Arts Festival, proudly sponsored by the Eastern Cape Government, National Arts Council and the Standard Bank, with support from Shamwari.

A comprehensive free Fringe Booking Kit is available from selected branches of the Standard Bank (for information, ring the Festival hotline 046 603-1164) and on the Festival web site . Book by post (details in the Fringe Booking Kit), through Computicket or on the Internet - http://www.computicket.com

For more information visit www.nafest.co.za or www.myzone.co.za




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