A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

THE WITNESS HILTON ARTS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2004-08-28)

True to its own benchmark form, the 12th annual Witness Hilton Arts Festival to be held on September 17, 18 and 19 promises to be a dazzling line-up of cutting-edge drama, dance, comedy, music and cabaret, as well as an enticing array of arts and crafts in a bumper programme that features a stellar line-up of hot property South African performers and artists. Many of the productions sourced at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July ensure that Hilton Festival patrons get to savour the cream of the festival mix enjoyed by mid-year theatre-goers at the premier festival in the Eastern Cape.

Heading this year’s Hilton festival roster is the Nedbank flagship production: King of Laughter, a riveting comedy about laughs written and directed by Craig Freimond (Gums and Noses) and starring stage and TV icon, James Borthwick. Jostling for frontline positions too, among the wealth of challenging and entertaining stage productions are Backbytes, Bloodstream and Fuse, each showcasing the multi-faceted gifts of legendary writer-performer-director Andrew Buckland.

Festival favourite Greig Coetzee appears in his scintillating new show, Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny (“a classic South African work in the making”) while Mike van Graan’s award-wining new play Green Man Flashing is set to run neck-and-neck against the much-praised Honour directed by Alan Swerdlow and starring stage luminaries Fiona Ramsay and Graham Hopkins. Another festival scoop that is up for grabs is Black and Blue, this year’s National Arts Festival “Critic’s Choice” with Sylvaine Strike heading the cast.

Making welcome appearances on the comedy front are the riotous The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr Abridged starring Michael Gritten, Neil Coppen and Steven Stead; Laughing Wild directed by Steven Stead, spotlighting Lisa Bobbert and Darren King; The Most Amazing Show hosted by comedy duo Corne and Twakkie, and the ever-so-politically incorrect Gilda Blacher on top form shooting from the hip in Shopping and Sctupping.

Ballet Theatre Afrikan presents a bill of top-notch dance works by leading South African choreographers including Julian Brandon’s compelling Folk Songs set to music by Luciano Berio; Mathias Julius’ beautiful contemporary work, Tarisiro; and Martin Schonberg’s Lovers Pas de Deux from Windows created in the neo-classical idiom for the full-length production that premiered in July at the Market Theatre.

Tipped as hot attractions on this year’s Fringe at Hilton are the world premiere of Crooked, a ripping new black comedy by John van de Ruit (Green Mamba) starring Michael Gritten, Tim Wells and Claire Cassidy, and the Jacky Hangman Tree, an erotically charged new South African tragicomedy for adults only. Written by Peter Stewart and directed by Stewart and Michael Broderick, this stars Stacey Taylor.

Adding a delightful wacky element to this year’s Fringe is How to Grow Old Disgracefully devised and starring the feisty and irrepressible septuagenarian Fiona Fraser. This keeps good company with A Little Pride and Prejudice, a fresh and whimsical slant on Jane Austen’s ever-popular best-seller that sold out in Grahamstown in July. And look for something special in Water Pockets, at heart a simple and touching love story between a rural woman and an urban male, another show that scored a big hit in Grahamstown. For laughs on the fringe, you can join partners-in-crime Aaron McIlroy and Kaseran Pillay as they return to the boards with their run-away comedy hit My Cousin Brother, while adult panto fans are more than catered for with the ever-popular outrageously funny, adults-only Puss in Boots.

In the arena of cabaret and musical revue, stand by as star singer Karen van Pletsen lets rip in Red, Hot and Blue; Carol Trench, Melanie Roberts and Evan Roberts do their inimitable thing with The Carpenters; and the redoubtable Anthony Stonier airs his take on theatrical life with A Warm Hand on Your Opening, an intimate, amusing anecdotal revue with exposes real-life horrors and catastrophes that have overtaken hapless performers on opening nights.

Young and young-at-heart audiences can expect Ellis and Bheki on the top of their considerable form in their celebrated Squawk! Amazi Omoya. Originally created to celebrate South Africa’s birth of democracy, this production has recently toured the US and Canada to celebrate the 10th birthday of that self-same democracy.

Also on the bill for babes and others is Kaleidoscope, an interactive children’s theatre performance presented by Creative Madness and created by Peter Court. Garth Anderson’s award-winning Actor’s Co-Operative can be seen in action too, with two performances only of the much-loved of Tales from the Brothers Grimm, featuring classic stagings of Little Red Cap and Ashputtel.

Catering for fans of eclectic, classical, popular and quality music is the ever-enterprising Chris Duigan with his Music Revival Concert Series sponsored by the Distell Foundation for the Performing Arts. This includes the Six Pack – six of South Africa’s top concert pianists putting the new Hilton College grand piano through its paces as well as a dazzling palette of solo piano recitals. Complementing these are a bevy of other musical “star turns” including the 10 Trumpets; Moscow Nights showcasing the virtuosic flights of the Kerimov Trio; Opera is Calling for Me featuring outstanding young performers from the University of KZN’s Opera School and the Burlesque Super Group – a 12 piece outfit taking on the Big Band sounds in great style.

As always, the festival includes notable workshops, this year focusing on Dancing with BTA, Stanislavsky and Theatre of the Imagination – as well as several discussion presentations in the popular and interesting “Brainfest” series. There will be a special focus on food and eating again this year with two food areas to choose from: the usual popular food tent with a myriad of eateries offering their wares, and “Fabulous” – an elegant dining area offering a more sophisticated dining experience. Diners are warmly invited to pre-book their meals at “Fabulous” to avoid unnecessary delays. Complementing the performing arts are a myriad of art exhibitions on display throughout the Hilton campus featuring some of KZN’s top visual artists.

Booking is now open and kits are available from selected SPAR Stores in KZN. They can also be collected from Exclusive Books (La Lucia, Pavilion and Gateway), Adams in Musgrave Centre and town, Shooters and Suters and the Witness offices in Pietermaritzburg. Detailed information can be found on www.artslink.co.za/hilton

Visitors to the Festival are strongly advised to book accommodation early at one of the many B&Bs and hotels in the area. For more information – visit http://www/artslink.co.za/hilton or http://www.witness.co.za or the Hilton Festival hotline on theatre@hiltoncollege.com




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart