(Aaron McIlroy in “Comedy Masterclass”)
From fresh, edgy works to crowd-pleasers, the Cape Town Fringe’s 2016 programme is jammed with theatre, music, physical performances, comedy and family fare in a 17-day theatre binge that will be calling Capetonians from their couches.
The extended run of September 22 to October 8 sees the Cape Town Fringe focus on innovative works and interesting productions that shake-up the notion of theatre and bring creative and engaging performances to new audiences.
The programme has been reimagined to accommodate more night-time performances in keeping with the city rhythms but extends into the day on weekends and school holidays.
Productions from KwaZulu-Natal include highly popular musical show, The Glitter Girls, with Lisa Bobbert, Marion Loudon and Liesl Coppin. The award-winning production is directed by Aaron McIlroy and choreographed by Shelley Haggard.
Aaron McIlroy will present his extremely successful Comedy Masterclass which is directed by Patrick Kenny.
Another production with strong KZN links is Out of Bounds written by former Durban actor/writer/director Rajesh Gopie who now lives in Johannesburg. Out of Bounds is directed by Crizelle Anthony and features Tailyn Ramsamy and Tazme Pillay.
This year, festival guest creative director, Rob Murray, convened a selection committee to ensure that the programme hits the sweet spot between being a platform for innovative, experimental pieces and presenting a “thoroughly entertaining” collection of works that are short, sharp and interesting.
“Theatre-makers and artists are responding to the call for work that talks to our times. The committee has been encouraged to see that artists are hungry to share their stories and we feel that this programme presents audiences with an exciting mix of edgy Fringe in its truest sense and some must-see productions that have been well received nationally and internationally,” Murray said.
One such production is Police Cops from the UK’s Pretend Men. The production won 'The Stage award for acting excellence – Best Ensemble' at the Brighton Fringe, as well as several other critical acknowledgements. The production is described as an ‘adrenaline-fuelled, three-man cop parody featuring supercharged physical theatre, cinematic style and uncompromising facial hair.’ From New York comes the steamy prog-rock Odysseus Finn, featuring Michael McQuilken, who also performs and directs Machine Makes Man, winner of the 2013 Amsterdam Fringe Best International Production that also wowed crowds at the 2014 National Arts Festival.
Amongst this year’s Standard Bank Ovation Award Winners being staged at the Cape Town Fringe is Rob van Vuuren’s darkly brilliant Dangled, clown-satirist Klara van Wyk in You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths, Alan Parker’s sublime physical theatre piece Sacre for One, Lexi Meier’s Fabric of the Universe, an immersive, tactile installation involving 250 kg of crocheted yarn, and Falling off the Horn from Grahamstown’s Uyabona Ke, a piece dealing with xenophobia that debuted at the 2016 National Arts Festival.
The Baxter’s Zabalaza Festival presents four shows on the Cape Town Fringe: the musical production The Addis Ababa Assembly as well as Sonwabo Mphandle’s theatre piece, Alunamda, Luntu Masiza’s Ubudoda and Ralph May & Co’s Gelapte Pop.
Women continue to carry the activist torch with Niqabi Ninja, a take on male harassment and the female response during the Cairo uprising. Songs for Khwezi was created prior to the #RememberKhwezi protest but continues to expose this important narrative and Mamela Nyamza will debut her new work De-Apart-Hate at the Cape Town Fringe. Sugar Daddy Theatre will revive Eve Ensler’s classic V-Day in a once-off fundraiser for charity starring Marlisa Doubell, and from Nigeria comes WAIT, a play about issues of access to university experienced by African women.
Afrikaans audiences can expect some interesting work including that of ground-breaking new artist Jason Jacobs who will present Stofrooi which looks at the challenges of matric learners, and Terence Makapan’s tale of unlikely friendships, Kinders van die Wind.
Cape Town Fringe will once again have its hub at the Cape Town City Hall but also spreads into venues at the Alexander Bar, Khayelitsha’s Theatre in the Backyard and Guga S’Thebe as well as Observatory’s new AFDA Theatre.
The inaugural Cape Town Buskers’ Festival, in partnership with the V&A Waterfront, forms part of the Cape Town Fringe and sees free, outdoor sessions at the V&A Waterfront from October 5 to 8, from an array of international and local public theatre talents.
Comedy also features with Rob van Vuuren’s Very Big Comedy Show. Perpetual crowd-pleaser Butlers and Broadway returns and magic and illusion on the line-up include Marcel Oudejans, Brendan Peel, Greg Gelb and Stuart Lightbody.
On the music programme, two must-see collabs between powerful female vocalists are Maya Spector and Asanda Mqiki in Vocal Explosion. Mqiki also teams up with astonishing Eastern Cape artists Nombasa and Msaki in Diva Night. The artists also perform in solo shows.
Emma van Heyn adds to this chorus of female voices, while much-loved bands the Nomadic Orchestra and Hatchetman will take to the stage. Coming from Gauteng are Acoustiq Assassins and Blaqseed.
This year’s Cape Town Fringe family fare will reach more little people than ever with a schools outreach programme. Says Cape Town Fringe CEO, Tony Lankester, “Through our partnership with the City of Cape Town we are gearing up to take several productions to schools across the Peninsula ahead of the Cape Town Fringe and we will run a daytime programme for families on both the weekends and during the school holidays. Our aim is to inspire a new generation of theatre audiences, doers and dreamers.”
Other confirmed productions include a new production from The Jungle Theatre Company and Puppetrix’s CityGull / StadMeeu. For older children Hearts of War’s Words of War, SA classic Woza Albert! and Ubuntu Arts Theatre’s Silent Cries will ignite and inspire.
“Standard Bank is proud to have been a sponsor of the Cape Town Fringe Festival since its inception in 2014. We are delighted to be part of its growth and are especially encouraged to support an event which attracts younger audiences while also giving new and emerging talent a platform to showcase their work. We look forward to a great festival. ” says Hazel Chimhandamba, Head, Standard Bank Group Sponsorships.
Online booking for the Cape Town Fringe can be made at www.capetownfringe.co.za or visit https://www.capetownfringe.co.za/events for more information
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