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KOLLIG FESTIVAL (article first published : 2006-07-22)

Chris Chameleon, formerly of hit band Boo! and now starring in SABC2's 7de Laan, will be among the must-see acts at Durban's 11th annual Absa Kollig Arts Festival, running from August 23 to 16 Performances by Chris Chameleon, Jak de Priester, Andrč Schwartz and DNA Strings - as well as some award-winning drama and a grand salute to Mozart by The Drakensberg Boys' Choir - are among highlights of Durban's forthcoming Absa Kollig Arts Festival.

This ever-growing festival of music and drama, which annually features the best of the best from the yearly Klein Karoo Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, will be held from August 23 to 26 at its usual venue - Port Natal School in Dirk Uys Street, Umbilo. This year's Kollig ("spotlight") festival, as it is commonly known, will celebrate its 11th anniversary by presenting 11 varied productions seen earlier this year at the Klein Karoo Arts Festival, which features mostly Afrikaans works.

The festival opens at 18h00 on August 23 with Roer en Rumoer, billed as a musical extravaganza starring Wynand Strydom, Karen Ferreira, Rudi Muller and Afrikaans Idol Top 30 finalist Jaycee. It also showcases up-and-coming singers and musicians. (Tickets R50 and R60)

Scheduled for 20h45 on August 23 is The Musicals, a show by Andrč Schwartz, who won the Naledi and Fleur du Cap awards for his performance in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera. He will offer a repertoire including such favourites as Circle of Love, Music of the Night and Love Changes Everything. (Tickets R60 and R70. Running time 75 mins).

A madcap comedy, The Francois Toerien Show, opens on August 24 at 18h00. It stars a host of young actors from Stellenbosch, under the direction of Francois Toerien, and consists of a number of hilarious sketches reminiscent of The Carol Burnett Show and Monty Python. (Tickets R50 and R60. Running time 1 hour).

Chris Chameleon, former lead singer of the punk group Boo!, has taken the country by storm with his lyrics based on the poetry of Ingrid Jonker. He will perform solo with his guitar and sing numbers from his award-winning CDs Ek Herhaal Jou and 7de Hemel. Chameleon, currently to be seen as Liam in SABC2's hit series 7de Laan, will take to the spotlight at 21h00 on August 24 (Tickets R60 and R70).

The festival’s 17h45 pick for August 25 is the comedy Braaivleis, Rugby, Sunny Skies and…Sussie!, starring comedienne Marion Holm. This play looks at the trials and tribulations of life in South Africa through the eyes of Sussie and introduces the audience to a number of colourful characters. (Tickets R50 and R60).

At 19h45 on August 25, the focus will be on “the rebels of acapella” when the group Navi Redd takes to the stage. This talented team has performed at festivals countrywide and has received standing ovations. It comprises nine young men singing acapella in true Flying Pickets style, performing hits from <>Grease and associated with the likes of The Beach Boys and Abba. (Tickets R60 and R70).

Another festival highlight is a new comedy by six playwrights, Die Tafel, centring on the wedding anniversary dinners of six couples over a period of 60 years. Marriage becomes a war zone where violence, oyster soup, chocolate mousse, murder and raw fish all play their part. Die Tafel stars Pedro Kruger, Marion Holm and Schalk van der Merwe. There is only one performance at 21h45 on August 25. (Tickets R60 and R70).

On August 26, the festival programme starts at 10h30 with a performance of Amadeus Superstar by The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir under the baton of new conductor Bernard Krüger. The choir, soloists, actors and instrumentalists will perform works by Mozart as a tribute to his birth 250 years ago. This production was a highlight at the Music in the Mountains Festival earlier this year. (Tickets R40 and R50).

The winner of the Kanna Award for best drama production at this year's festival in Oudtshoorn was Boks, a translation by Marthinus Basson of Richard Zajdlic’s play, Cock and Bull Story. It stars Neels van Jaarsveld (the "eish" guy from the brandy ad) and Quentin Krog, and tells a story of friendship and backstabbing in the change-room before a major title fight. It explores masculinity, sexuality and male bonding with such intensity that it leaves the audience breathless. Restricted to under-16s, the production will be performed at 17h15 on August 26. (Tickets R50. Running time 2 hours)

Jak de Priester, previous winner of the Crescendo competition, performs with his band from 19h45 on August 26. His show is titled Brooklyn Poet and includes hits such as Sally Williams Nougat, the theme song from TV’s Binnelanders, Rock 'n' Roll Waitress and 'n Mondvol Fudge. (Tickets R50 and R60).

The festival closes on August 26, with a performance at 21h45 by DNA Strings which has won several awards and performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London and at the Edinburgh Festival. This group's music is a fusion of styles embracing African, Irish and Latin American music as well as traditional folk. (Tickets R50 and R60).

Booking for all productions is at Port Natal School (between 09h00 and 14h00 weekdays) or on 031 205 6369. Further enquiries to the festival organiser, Koos Kruger, on 082 463 8517 or visit www.teatergilde.co.za




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