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NOT GRAHAMSTOWN (article first published : 2000-06-3)

Booking is now open for the fourth annual NOT the Grahamstown Festival to take place at the Durban High School in St Thomas Road from June 13 to18.

As usual, an interesting mix of productions will be staged at the festival. In the main, these will represent Durban's presence at the annual Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. There will be two shows nightly, the idea being that patrons can come along for the evening and enjoy both productions and catch a bite to eat in-between while enjoying the festival atmosphere and art on display.

The festival opens on June 13 with a performance by popular opera singer Suzi Stengel with Suzi Stengel in Concert at 19h00. Her performance last year was one of the festival highlights. This is followed by outspoken playwright, Shireen James's new production Time of the Signs at 21h00 in which she touches the public issue of authority and the personal issue of adultery.

On June 14, the evening kicks off at 19h00 with a production featuring drama students from the Highway area in Those Days are Over by Aldo Brincat who is also the festival director. At 21h00, Gisele Turner and Wendy Nell of Madcaps stage the debut performance of their dark and playful drama which is rich in mythology and mystery, Women of Mud.

The first show on June 15 at 19h00 is The Final Cut in which Ben Vos and John van de Ruit stage their hilarious tribute to the game of cricket. This will be followed at 21h00 by the ever-popular Shakespeare, the Lunatic, Lover and Poet by Garth Anderson and the Actor's Co-Op.

On June 16 at 19h00, Aldo Brincat looks at every woman's fantasy and every man's fear in his new one-hander The House Husband. This is followed by Mad Cow's production of Boxers and Bikinis at 21h00, a funky play by Caroline Duck and Sarahleigh Casteyln that looks at the lives of five students on the brink of adulthood. This new piece of contemporary South African theatre follows hot on the heels of their previous sell-out successes Spit or Swallow and No Sir, I am not on the Menu.

June 17 offers an extra morning slot for younger patrons at 10h00 when Giselle Turner presents Dazzle Box Daydream, her enchanting two-hander about two friends who dream about treasure and set off to find it. This will be followed at 14h00 by the Actors Co-op's Tales of the Brothers Grimm, a charming piece that introduces children to the boundless imaginations of the Grimm brothers with their stories about Hansel and Gretel, Ashputtel, Little Red Cap and Rumpelstiltskin (see review in Drama).

The eveningís first production at 19h00 is Caged Feat by festival newcomer Wiaan de Beer, a post-graduate drama student who won the David Coleman special award last year. At 21h00, there will be the acclaimed cabaret piece, Cabaret Sauvignon by Catherine Mace, winner of the festival's first "NOT Award". Cabaret Sauvignon played the Royal Hotelís Backstage venue recently (see review in Supper Theatre).

The last day of the festival, June 18, opens with a slot for the family at 14h00 with a production by Odd Pair of Jeans theatre company. Using puppets and masks, Crackle retells three wonderful folk legends originally told around fires in front of wigwams many moons ago.

The evening line-up opens at 19h00 with another festival newcomer, Zoe Parker, with her Stop at Green, Go at Red. The final performance of the festival is Brenda Lauth's portrait of the flamboyant Dorothy Parker; You Might as Well Live, featuring Belinda Harward and Michael Gritten who recently appeared in Popcorn.

Booking is at Computicket or at the door. Credit card booking on (031) 304-2753 or save costs by booking at http://www.computicket.com.




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