28 June, 2012

Reviewing Fringe Shows in 50 words

Between having my face washed with soapy water by one crazy character and being offered a sip of whiskey by another, the Hydrolunatics experience was bizarre to say the least. The show highlighted the severity of South Africa’s water crisis, through splashing, muttering and a giant construction of water bottles. BA-FJP 2012

Lord Hamlet
Directed by Tara Notcutt and collaged by Robin Malan, who also plays the part of Hamlet; this is a monologue of about a man troubled by the world and people around him. Powerful execution which transforms the audience to the actual Shakespearean times infusing it with more than a dash of modernity. BS-FJP 2012

Princess Mkabayi
The story of Princess Mkabayi is about a courageous Zulu maiden who takes over her father's kingdom as a regent for her younger brother. The story informs us about the Zulu history of Kings. The play is very musical, with much in form of song and dance from KwaZulu Natal. NK-FJP 2012

Conscious Marimba
Combine the beats of African marimba, the trumpet, and folk-like vocals, and you have an African-Jamaican-jazzy hit! This is the Conscious Marimba band and it’s the variety that makes their performance eclectic and might entice the audience to sway to the jazzy rhythm. JP-FJP 2012

Any play that makes you laugh is always a good one. Discounted does its best. Chapman’s convenience store situated on a remote island just off the mainland in Port-Elizabeth tells the story of a shop owner struggling to get customers after a bad thunder storm as he tries to motivate staff and dodge the tax man. Phew! MT-FJP 2012

The play depicts a revolution that information and communication technology has allowed communities around the world to be connected. The wife was left with artworks from her late husband that she apparently has no use for. The internet provides her with the needed medium to promote her garage sale! Producer Susan Hansen vouches for Interplay’s entertainment value. TD-FJP 2012

No Umtshitsio; no problem! Young traditional dancers from OR Tambo Municipality (Umsino ensemble) embrace and endorse the Xhosa culture through music and dance. Sonwabile Moqokolo, the group's director says the use of young children helps build a strong culturally independent society from a young age. More power to them. AS-FJP 2012

Love at First Fight
Two people who are madly in love with each other. They fight of course, but only sarcastically. Love, after all, involves small things that happen in a relationship. The two characters show us that love conquers all no matter what. A romantic comedy on stage if there was one. ZNM- FJP 2012

Simfonia is a one-man show about a man who suffers from hemiplegia but succeeds in writing due to his unwavering nature. Simfonia is a story of perseverance and shifting boundaries, told entirely in Afrikaans. Said theatre goer Sikhumbuzo Manyathi: “it was good but the message was blurry because of the language.” TM-FJP 2012

Set in New York against a backdrop of a fight between pre-teen boys, this drama is about the meeting of the four parents to discuss their kids’ horrific injuries. Lots of screams, screeches, threatening language ensure before the two couple realise that their bad marriages had a lot with their kids behaving badly. TS-FJP 2012

Out of Order
It’s set in 1894 and tells a story of two spies, Humphrey, an ex-British spy who joined the Afrikaner army, and Kobus, a Boer spy. The two were together at the war front and dramatically and severally saved each other’s lives. War brutality told against a comedic background. TS-FJP 2012

Direct animated engagement with the audience enhanced Dephala?s erratic, leaping and sweeping movements and jumps, creating a narrative filled with animal-like characters. Accompanied by sounds of penny whistles, leg-strapped shakers and Shaman chants, this University of Botswana import does a good imitation of hip/hop, panstula and gumboot dancing. SG-FJP 2012

John Ellis
Tree63 band musician and guitarist John Ellis staged his opening live performance at Graham Hotel and put a marker for other solo performances at the National Arts Festival. The iconic guitarist enticed and seduced with his signature solo performances. Showing again on 29-30 June and 2-3 July at Graham Hotel. TS-FJP 2012

Beyond Belief
Witty, smart and strangely believable, Beyond Belief proved to be one of the best amateur magic shows one could ever see. The young magician engages the crowd by showing them various tricks. Filled with entertainment, thrill and plenty of audience interaction, the show will should be a big hit! AN-FJP 2012

Meister’s Voice
From the bottom of the stairs, Meister's Voice resonates strength and charisma. However, it’s an act better left to listening on a CD than watching perhaps. While the talent is certainly there and Meister's look is quite Alanis Morrisette-like, her performance is a little distant. It’s still early days though. BA-FJP 2012

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