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Monday, June 13, 2011


The National Arts Festival Fringe is (in)-famous for its gargantuan Comedy line-up, and with more than 40 gigs (including 19 premières) on the 2011 programme, it will again be a place to let the hair down this year.

Returning favourites include The Most Amazing Show with Corne and Twakkie, Matthew Ribnick’s Monkey Nuts, Big Boys Don't Dance and Live and Kicking Late Night Comedy. Returning favourites with a twist include Butlers and Blackmail, Rob van Vuuren – Live!, Rocket Raiders, David Newton and Gaëtan Schmid.

Brand new shows include Mark Sampson in Africa Clockwise, Mark Palmer’s Best Medicine, Bridezilla!, written by and featuring Nicola Barbour, and Shirley Kirchmann in Catch. Another première sees Daniel Buckland directing the musical comedian Daniel Friedman in Deeply Fried; and Mind Games with Brendon Peel is filled with psychological illusions, mind twisting games and classic mentalism. In Stuperstition sleight of hand expert Stuart Lightbody takes an entertaining look at superstitious and magical thinking, from broken mirrors and bad luck to homeopathy and astrology.

Four of 031's best alternative stand-ups, Glen Bo (Edinburgh Fringe), Gareth Woods (5FM Comedy Winner), Jem Atkins (Best New Durban Act 2009) and Dusty Rich (Finalist: Nando's Showdown) take on the task of changing perceptions of coastal living in the Durban Comedy Invasion première.

Other premières include Escape from Nombyland! with Jacobus Van Heerden, Liam Magner and Loyiso McDonald, Hellpants and the Fbpk with Martin Evans, and Woeman with Juliette Pauling, Candace Gawler and Roshne Gupter.

You sit, I’ll stand is Dale Amler’s debut one man show, and Stranger Things Have Happened stars Ryan Dittmann teaming up with himself to tell an outrageous tale inspired by true events during his past years as a restaurateur extraordinaire.

Raiders, the little show that has dominated the Grahamstown Fringe for 21 years, is back. After being awarded a Standing Ovation Award in 2010, was it time to retire? Well no, it just heralded a new era for Nicholas Ellenbogen and his litany of co-stars. This year Rocket Raiders focuses on India, trains, and the early opium trade that ravaged the 19th century.

Romantic Fools sees influences of Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and classic vaudeville comedy in sketches celebrating the inherent comedy of male-female relationships, featuring Kelly Kowalski and Raymond Rudolph. Umaphelo is a Xhosa-driven compelling comedy drama exploring the personal lives and struggles of two independent families. Starvation does not stand in the way of uMaphelo, when he has the surrounding neighbours at his rescue. Written and directed by Duke Mbini.

Other shows include Cabin Fever, Comedy with Khanyisa Bunu, The Compleat Wrks Of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), Paperboy, The Swansong of Norrie Da Silva and Wayne Mckay is ‘Mainou de Bruinou’. Sivuyile "Siv" Ngesi is back with Dekaf, as is James Cairns in Dirt; other returnees are Dr Stef's Side Splitting Hypnosis and Love @ First Fight (previously known as Relationsh!t, 2009), a rollercoaster ride through the trials, tribulations and titillations of relationships.

Tashreeq Amed and Carl Webber is a rapping advocate from Beaufort West and an Englishman from Bloemfontein sharing the stand-up stage for the first time in the double-bill Hoes Kuntry Izzit Anyway?, directed by Kurt Egelhof. Interiors is about what happens when your life becomes as boring as your interior decorating, written and directed by Amy Jephta, featuring Beren Belknap and Nadia Caldeira.

Bookings for this year’s “11 Days of Amaz!ng” are open. Tickets are available through Computicket. Booking kits available from selected Standard Bank Branches, selected Exclusive Books and all Computickets. For more information on the programme, accommodation and travel options visit Also join the National Arts Festival group on Facebook for all the latest competitions and news, or follow us on Twitter. Call 046 603 1103 for more info.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The Eastern Cape Government, The National Arts Council, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Sunday Independent and M Net.