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FESTIVAL DIARY – JULY 2 (article first published : 2003-07-3)

I always feel sorry for comedians who have to get a festival audience alert and responsive in a morning’s show. I saw Alan Committee in one of his first Festival offerings in which he gave a madcap rendering of Shakespeare’s plays. So I was delighted to see him back on the fringe programme with the equally enjoyable Titanic on Ice. An easy-going, affable and skilful performer he ran through a series of movies offering the plot of each in 30 seconds and shared five important expressions for a movie star (you’ve guessed it – not much difference between any of them).

I was delighted with the way he dealt with the irritating intrusion of a cellphone call. I doubt if that member of the audience will ever forget to turn her phone off again! He played a number of characters from a buck-toothed spectacled film critic to Charlie Chaplain and the captain of the Titanic. Hauling a good-natured member of the audience on stage to be the iceberg, he re-enacts the last few hours of the doomed liner.

Alan mentioned to me that he would like to bring productions to KZN, so watch out for him!

Rob van Vuuren came highly recommended and, having never seen him work before, I opted for They Say, a physical theatre piece co-directed by Gerhard Marx (who also did the scenography) and Lara Foot Newton. It is set among swinging rocks and it involved some memorable props, particularly a beautiful little miniature house on what looked like the remnants of a plough and a kitchen table that gets drowned. Nevertheless, I came away a little disappointed despite the fact that the piece was a beautiful exercise of physical balance and control. While acknowledging that he seemed to be suffering from a cold or flu, van Vuuren creates his vocal dynamics in extremes which makes him a little tedious to listen to.

Launched today was Jeanette Eve’s A Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape with illustrations, photographs and drawings by Basil Mills. It’s described as a delightful gift book of journeys that takes the reader to over 100 sites in the Eastern Cape. Each place is viewed through poems as prose extracts associated with it and about 80 writers from different backgrounds and eras are met along the way. Retail price R275. Watch out for review on artSMart in Literature pages.

I took in the Reflect exhibition in Trinity Hall, Hill Street. You enter the gallery space with a feeling of grace and spirituality. Wehrner H Lemmer’s tall and dramatic Aztec-looking metal sculptures are studded and geometric. Barry Broadbent’s large wood sculptures retain the same sense of uncluttered line and Amanda de Wet’s huge glass panels against the windows channel gentle hued light spills into the room. As the artists are accommodated on the premises, this exhibition stays open until 18h00.




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