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NAF IRRESISTIBLE COMEDY (article first published : 2003-06-9)

The 2003 National Arts Festival runs from June 27 to July 5 in Grahamstown and the cream of South Africa's comedians are preparing to bombard audiences with their razor-sharp wit and off the wall commentary. Its wacky, its weird, its wonderfully South African.

CornÚ and Twakkie (The Most Amazing Show) host two Monty Python-esque comedy shows - Breakfast Bonanza and My Guys. My Guys. Louw Venter and Rob van Vuuren are causing chaos around South Africa with their Wayne's Worlds meets Ali G for a Braai with Leon Schuster cult comedy theatre shows.

Written by Martin Koboekae, Stockings and Stilettos is a hilarious escapist comedy about four executives whose glamorous lives leave little room for husbands and happiness. Humour and passion abound, as, preparing to meet Mr Right, they reminisce over times of poverty when boyfriends were plenty.

Matthew Ribnick is The Chilli Boy - white Boksburg gangster/reincarnated Indian woman. Ribnick transforms from the leader of a bunch of rough "okes", to his low-rent, Patricia Lewis-loving mother, to a breyani-cooking, sari-wearing Indian woman, and back again in mid-sentence, in this mixed marsala of colourful comedy that sees two vastly different worlds colliding.

"She's sussed, she's sharp, she's Miss Kwa Kwa, and she's bleck." Paul Berning's production, starring up-and-coming actress Makgano Mambolo, is probably the only one-woman satirical comedy performed by a black woman in SA. Written by AFDA graduate Stephen Simm, Miss Kwa Kwa, described as "armed with an acerbic wit, an overactive ego and the biggest attitude this side of the Limpopo", is a laugh-a-minute journey from a homeland beauty pageant to superstardom.

Blow away the Duckworth-Lewis blues and laugh again - Paul Slabolepszy's new comedy It's Just Not Cricket is a rollicking exposÚ of South Africa's obsession with cricket. With a silly point, a square leg and a slip or two, James Borthwick, Graham Hopkins and David Clatworthy, three ardent "Souf Effrican" fans, delve into the fine art of cricket in this hilarious sporting comedy.

Katlehong's Whistlers of Art abandon the spoken word in The Barber Shop and instead immerse their audience in the transcendental language of whistling. Directed by the Market Theatre Lab's Mncedisi Shabangu, this surreal, comic, and magically South African play explores the problem of xenophobia seen through the eyes of Baba Ka Dennis (Thabo Xaba).

Alan Committie's riotous comedy Titanic on Ice drops anchor in Grahamstown. Directed by Chris Weare, this almost-one-man re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic has physical comedian and madcap improviser, Committie, stretched to the limit as he portrays all but the iceberg in this sidesplitting spoof on Hollywood.

Mighty Afri-Deity, written and directed by Genna Lewis is a physical performance extravaganza that deals surreptitiously with the "ins and outs" of womanhood within our diverse cultures. One of five AFDA productions on the 2003 Fringe, Mighty Afri-Deity features three women with "balls of steel" - Tamsin van der Spuy, Helene Radley and Boitumelo Masemola - looking for their individual goddesses.

Also on the comedy beat are proven hot favourites - Alan Weyers and Brian Mullins (Boet 'n Swaer), Stef Juncker (Thighslapping Hypnosis), Ben Voss and John van de Ruit (Green Mamba), Aldo Brincat (King Kong and Defending the Cavebrats), Aaron McIlroy (Mr Personality and My Cousin-Brother with Kaseran Pillay) plus many more.

Booking Kits are available from selected Standard Bank branches and main Computicket outlets, and on the Festival website: www.nafest.co.za

For more info call the Festival hotline 046 603 1103/1164




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