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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

FESTIVAL DIARY – JUNE 30 (article first published : 2003-07-1)

Today I took in two productions – a drama show on the Fringe and a dance production on the Main.

James Borthwick and Graeme Hopkins are at it again – presenting a hilarious and highly entertaining show about cricket or more precisely, the passion that die-hard fans have for this particular sport. This time round, the duo is expanded with the inclusion of David Clatworthy who provides a lean and nimble contrast to James’s solid earthy character of Korkie and Graeme’s very-together and logical Archie.

Directed and written by Paul Slabolepszy, It’s Just Not Cricket leans very heavily on the other two shows about cricket - Tickle to Fine Leg and Life’s a Pitch - and I’ve seen them both often enough to recognise chunks of the dialogue – but still laughed again! All the familiar characters are there such as Colonel Pilkington-Smythe and Richard Hopcroft as well as James’s wonderful take-off of the late, inimitable Charles Fortune.

Shift is the production commissioned by Standard Bank to this year’s winner of the Young Artist Award for Dance, dancer and choreographer Moya Michael. She created two pieces for the short programme, unhelpfully titled Shift One and Shift Two.

Shift Two incorporated the dancers of the Tshwane Dance Theatre, a new company directed by Mandla Mcunu which was launched at the FNB Dance Umbrella in February this year. Using strobe lighting and a stop-start sequence of questioning poses, the piece grew as the music built up in crescendo. I admit to having difficulty relating to the work and what was apparently the recounting of a significant incident in the dancer’s lives. However, there was some unforgettable and stunning imagery of a spider involved.

In the second work Shift One, we got to see the quality of performance that swayed the awards judges to choose her. Lithe and sensuous, she is an honest performer, exuding charm and endearing vulnerability. On stage with her was violinist Libby du Toit and rap artist Elroy – surely a violin and rap combo is a world first?!

At a media function on Sunday, chairman of the Festival Committee Mannie Manim announced that next year’s festival will celebrate three special anniversaries. It will be the festival’s 30th anniversary; Rhodes University celebrates its centenary year and South Africa is ten years on from the dawn of its democracy.

Three main bands were formed from the preliminaries of the Standard Bank National Youth Festival: a schools’ big band, a youth band made up of musicians between 18 and 26 and a small elite group who represent the cream of South Africa’s young jazz talent. For the rest of the year these bands will tour South Africa playing at various festivals and high profile events.

Pieter Dirk-Uys slammed the festival sponsors for making no effort to campaign for safe sex at the festival – not this year or for the last four years. The very festival atmosphere, informal atmosphere, quick relationships formed, extra intake of alcohol - all provide a strong breeding ground for casual sex. But if no-one else will do something, Pieter-Dirk does it himself. He’s taken full pages in Cue the festival newspaper advocating safe sex.




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