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Saturday, June 6, 2015


(‘Arach-no-phobia’. Pic by Heide Smallgood)

Now under new management, Durban’s bayside Catalina Theatre will present five exciting shows under the banner, Not The Grahamstown Festival. This prime mix of entertainment will run between June 11 and 20, 2015, in the intimate performance venue on Wilson’s Wharf as a showcase of some of Durban’s theatre productions set to play on the 2015 National Arts Festival Fringe.

The concept of Not The Grahamstown Festival was first launched in Durban by theatre practitioners, Aldo Brincat and Illa Thompson. The event aims to help offset costs and to assist artists and productions on their journey to South Africa's biggest arts festival, while offering local theatre goers the opportunity to salute and support their home-grown talent.

Titles include Rowin Munsamy’s skit comic two-hander, No Contest?!; Clinton Marius’s side-splitting B!*ch Stole My Doek starring Shona Johnson; the acclaimed two-hander, The Monotonous, presented by Theatre of Human Purpose; All Gone, a cautionary tale based on a true-life human drama; and Arach-no-phobia, a collaborative contemporary dance piece staged by Dance Direction International and Youngstar Productions.

No Contest?! (June 12 at 20h00 & June 13 at 18h00) - opening the festival is Rowin Munsamy’s hilarious skit comedy about two aspiring dancers who compete on a reality TV show to raise funds to build a rehabilitation centre in Chatsworth. Along the way, we meet 20 over-the-top characters, all voicing their opinions as to what talent they think South Africa should have. Mayhem rules in this fun piece as its protagonists, played by Renaldo Moodley and Verne Rowin Munsamy, vie with each other to get the upper hand.

B!*ch Stole My Doek (June 14 at 14h30 & June 20 at 20h00) - starring Shona Johnson, Clinton Marius’s run-away hit comedy is an exciting feature on the festival line-up. Hailed as a “one-woman comedy riot … one of the best shows of 2014” (The Witness), this raucous satire with a twist, which revolves around a war of words over a missing item of laundry, played to unanimous acclaim during its debut run at the Catalina over the past festive season, and subsequently at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg.

The Monotonous (June 13 & 20 at 14h00) - first staged to wide acclaim in 2014, the show is written by Bonginkosi Thwala, directed by Nhlakanipho Gamede and performed by award-winning actors Nzuzo Ngcobo and Bonginkosi Thwala. It show tells a story of a master and a servant who are running against time, journeying to meet William's high school friends in a reunion. Both William and Julius try to leave the house, but too many obstacles arise and it becomes impossible to leave.

Arach-no-phobia (June 13 at 20h00 & June 20 at 18h00) - choreographed by Des van der Spuy and Gabriel Masango, the dance work is built around the premise that we are all spiders and nothing is beyond our reach. We dance a web of conscious creation, weavers of dreams in a community. Casting includes Gabriel Masango and Helen Noll with Emily Bedingfield, Yolanda Bourman, Sarah Collocott, Shifali Sooful, Funokuhle Buthelezi, Thobile Ndlovu, Emma Penberthy, Gabriella Govender, Simphiwe Msomi, Thomas Larche , Luca Robinson, Yashmay Sooful and Dakshina Chetty.

All Gone (June 13 at 12h00 & June 19 at 20h00) - a true-life drama co-scripted by Thami Sikhosana and Bongani Mbatha, directed by Sikhosana and starring Mbatha. This is a gripping one-hander with a strong moral message, reflecting on how people often miss a golden opportunity to pull themselves up out of hardships and make a better life for themselves. Set in Kokies Tavern in KwaMashu, the drama unfolds in a series of flashbacks.

Tickets for shows on the Not The Grahamstown Festival range from R40 to R60. Booking is through Computicket (0861 915 8000) or online at Tickets will also be available at the door prior to each performance.