national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, July 6, 2009


Sunshine turned to cold later in the day but the three productions I saw overcame all that. (Report from Caroline Smart in Grahamstown)

True to the weather forecast, the day dawned sunny and the colours of dawn (I was up early. By mistake, you understand!) blazed through my window where I am staying on my husband’s cousin’s farm just outside Grahamstown. The black silhouette of the currently leafless trees stood out starkly against the blazing orange and the pale blue. I must have been lucky to catch what was a fairly brief moment because by the time I had located my phone to take a photograph, the landscape had become less dramatic. So, I got back into bed to sleep until the alarm rang at the proper time!

The first show of the day was Matthew Ribnick’s new venture, Monkey Nuts, directed by Geraldine Naidoo. A packed house, as one would expect from such a poplar performer, responded well to another mind-boggling and hilarious line-up of characters, all accurately presented. The pace was a little frenetic but, as I reminded myself, I don’t normally see Matthew’s work in the early stages and by the time it reaches us in Durban, the shows are finely honed – and I have absolutely no doubt that this one will be the same.

Then it was a quick trip up to the Media Room at the Monument with Sifiso Sikhakhane from Durban, who is studying journalism at Rhodes and will be doing some reviews of the Festival for artSMart.

After that, it was off to Graeme College to see the stunning The Olive Tree written and directed by this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist’s Award winner for Drama, Ntshieng Mokgoro. What a great piece of theatre and very fine performances.

My final show of the day was Le Carnival de ma Vie (My Life as a Carnival), a beautiful threesome directed by Craig Morris done in mime style which proves that you don’t need words to explain how you feel!

Reviews of all three productions will be loaded shortly! I am almost 100% certain I won’t be awake early enough tomorrow morning to see the dawn! – Caroline Smart