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.

14TH HILTON ARTS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2006-08-22)

Two plays by former Durban-based playwright Mike van Graan; novel physical theatre pieces directed by Greig Coetzee and Janet Buckland; productions featuring Fiona Ramsay, Matthew Ribnick, Graham Clarke and Aaron McIlroy … all are among highlights of the 14th annual Hilton Arts Festival, being held from September 15 to 17 at Hilton College.

The event, always a big highlight on the KwaZulu-Natal cultural calendar, again promises a wide mix of drama, comedy, music, cabaret, arts and crafts at venues scattered throughout the picturesque campus grounds.

There are also some new things to look forward to this year, including The Super Sonics, a music-based venue to give community, school and youth groups an opportunity to be a part of the festival. Ticket prices have been underwritten to increase the affordability. The featured concert in this new venue will be Durban’s KZN Philharmonic, performing a programme titled Classical and Contemporary. The festival will also offer an eclectic mix of 13 concerts hosted by Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival Concerts, featuring special guests and soloists.

And, for the first time, there will be a curated art exhibition at the festival, as well as the usual art displays. Karen Bradtke, of Artspace Durban, will curate the exhibition in the Normand Dunn Gallery in the Main Theatre building and in the Art School, next to the Drama Centre.

Must-see shows among main festival productions include The Book Club, starring Fiona Ramsay. Directed by Alan Swerdlow, it is said to be a bittersweet comedy about the wife of a lawyer – who finds herself at a loose end when her kids leave home. So she joins The Book Club. Also sure to prove popular is a play directed by Roy Sargeant, described as funny and enchanting. It’s The Boy Who Fell From the Roof, written by Juliet Jenkin and centring on a lad who spent most of his youth in a gang on the mean streets of Howick.

“Award-winning playwright, Mike van Graan, whose Green Man Flashing was seen at the festival two years ago, presents a moving drama that explores the effects of violent crime in South Africa – Some Mothers’ Sons, directed by Jay Pather,” says a festival spokesman. The play centres on two men, their mothers and families, and how their political convictions are brought into question when loved ones become victims of crime. Van Graan also presents Two To Tango, a comedy about relationships, set in contemporary Cape Town. It was the jury runner-up at the comedy satire leg of the Pansa Festival of Reading of New Writing in 2005.

Graham Clarke, former star of TV’s The Villagers, who recently featured in the revival of Popcorn at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, presents his award-winning one-man show, The Devil and Billy Markham, penned by cartoonist, composer, lyricist, folk-singer and writer, the late Shel Silverstein. “Having first appeared as a six-part, epic poem in the January 1979 edition of Playboy magazine, it is told in rhyming couplets and performed with gravelly voiced gusto – and an impressive memory – by Clarke.”

Another festival highlight is Prodigal, featuring multi-talented Tim Redpath. This show played an extended run to packed houses and standing ovations at the recent Grahamstown National Arts Festival. It has been labelled as a neatly plotted and superbly written classic for the modern age, the tale of a young Eastern Cape farm boy who decides to leave home and seek out his fortune in the fast-paced city of Jo’burg. Snappy dialogue, split-second character changes and strong physical acting, see one actor bring a fantastic cast of characters to life.

Among Durban artists to be seen at the festival are Ben Voss and John van de Ruit, presenting their popular sketch-based satire, Black Mamba; and funnyman Aaron McIlroy, who offers his latest hit, DOF, directed by Steven Stead.

Of particular note is Two … Is the Beginning of the End, said to be an elegant, clever take on Peter Pan and Wendy. It stars top Durban performers Neil Coppen and Clare Mortimer. Their compelling drama is set in the Point Road flat of a woman who has perfected the art of survival.

The festival production directed by Greig Coetzee is Blood Orange, described as “an exciting blend of physical theatre and stunning narrative”, performed by Craig Morris; while the Matthew Ribnick piece worth catching is the highly amusing Hoot, the snaking story of mini-bus taxi drivers. In spite of having worked the festival circuit for some time now, Hoot remains one of the best shows you will see this year. It is penned and directed by Geraldine Naidoo.

Another piece that catches my interest is Wet Feet, described as a magical work of physical comedy, song and heart-wrenching moments. It’s by Janet Buckland's innovative Ubom! company.

Festival fringe events this year will include much for families and young audiences, including Chasing Rainbows, A Circus Adventure, Grandpa Grumps and the Magical Junkshop, Jack Slater Monster Investigator, the Actors’ Co-Op’s Sleeping Beauty and performances by festival regulars Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkhwane.

For the more cerebal festival-goers, there will be a series of 14 Thinkfest lectures and discussions on a myriad of interesting and diverse subjects, presented by leaders in their respective fields. A special focus will be on food this year, with two food areas from which to choose. “We will have the usual popular food tent, plus an elegant dining area offering a more sophisticated dining, cocktail and late-night experience – The Decadent Diva, to be managed by Evan Roberts, which will have singing waiters,” says the festival spokesman.

Meanwhile, a reminder that the South African theatre classic Sizwe Banzi is Dead, written by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, heads for the Hilton College Theatre for a short season for school pupils and the public, from September 19 to 23 September. “Contrary to popular belief, the festival does not sell-out overnight!” says festival director Sue Clarence. “Yes, box office business will be brisk once booking opens today, but there are inevitably tickets available for all shows. There is often a misconception that there are never any tickets available as they sell out so quickly – that is not the case. Although it is advisable not to delay as the ‘hot’ tickets do get purchased quickly.” Booking is now open and booking kits are available at selected Spar stores. Kits are also available at Exclusive Books (La Lucia, Pavilion and Gateway), Adams in Musgrave Centre and town and Cascades Bookshop.Detailed information can be found at www.artslink.co.za/hilton For further information contact theatre@hiltoncollege.com or phone 033 383 0126.




 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