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NAF CABARET (article first published : 2004-06-3)

The National Arts Festival celebrates its 30th birthday this year, South Africa celebrates 10 years of democracy, and Rhodes University is 100-years old. Yet there’s still more to celebrate: veterans of the Fringe, Des and Dawn Linberg celebrate 40 years in the entertainment industry and consummate South African entertainers, Cutt Glas notch up 15 years!

Des and Dawn Still Truckin’ is a trip down memory lane for this famous couple who relive the past 40 years and bring each fragment to sparkling life with music and visuals taken from the scrapbook of their lives. A fun-for-all family show featuring all their hit songs and more!

Cutt Glas’ 15 Year Celebration will offer a crescendo of beautifully balanced harmony. This five-member group has an electrifying passion for challenging and innovative a cappella singing.

By George It’s Caldwell! is the latest offering from the Shaggy Dog Theatre Company and features yet another Festival veteran, Robert-Ian Caldwell, with Jeff Judge accompanying him on the piano and sax. Dubbed as “loosely-linked irrelevancies with senior moments musicale”, this show has received critical acclaim and will head off to Edinburgh after the festival.

Bridging the gap between Euro and Afrocentric performance, Odidi Mfenyana, singer, songwriter, diviner, poet and preacher will expose festinos to ‘nu cabaret’. Following in the tradition of sangomos and grandparents telling stories and singing songs by the fireside, Odidi will both surprise and entertain with a mixture of startling vocal talent and profoundly provoking lyrics in Rhythms down my Spine.

Love Like Never Before is, in contrast, a “classical cabaret”, which features two trained classical musicians, Gretchen Pletschke and Hanneke Els. Far removed from the formal recital genre, this show is an opportunity to enjoy some well-known classical romantic pieces and to discover lesser-known gems.

On the same subject, but with a different tune, songwriter and diva extraordinaire, Helena Hettema, is passionate about Piaff, brilliant with Brell and does Dietricht down to a T – Elton John, Bette Midler and Janice Joplin classics also feature in this formidable diva’s repertoire.

Irit Noble is in the Pink! – a high-camp, high-energy, high-on-life expression of music and stand-up comedy directed by Clive Allardyce.

“Ghoulishly goofy”, “brutally brilliant” and “waspishly wicked” are just some of the eloquent adjectival phrases used to describe Caroline Smart’s production of Brutal Tunes, featuring Lisa Bobbert, Anthony Stonier, and Andrew Warburton.

So get to Grahamstown for the coolest cabarets in the country! Book at Computicket, visit the Festival website, www.nafest.co.za or phone 046 603 1103/1164.

The National Arts Festival is proudly presented by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council.




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