Pa­per, pi­ano and towel fun

The Jive Cape Town Funny Fes­ti­val, de­liv­ered by Turk­ish Air­lines, will warm you this win­ter, writes Bianca Cole­man

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

EV­ERY win­ter the Jive Cape Town Funny Fes­ti­val, de­liv­ered by Turk­ish Air­lines, pulls in to the Bax­ter The­atre for a month with a show filled with com­edy, va­ri­ety and spe­cial­ity acts from South Africa and abroad.

The cast of South African greats for 2016 in­cludes Marc Lot­ter­ing, Alan Com­mit­tie, Glen Bi­der­man-Pam, Gino Fab­bri, Carl Wastie, Yaaseen Barnes, and The Big Boys. From July 21 they will be joined on stage by the world’s only liv­ing pa­per car­toon and “comic origamist”, En­nio Marchetto from Italy; and the UK’s top clas­si­cally trained pi­anist turned co­me­dian, Kev Orkian. Both th­ese acts are feath­ers in fes­ti­val founder Eddy Cas­sar’s hat.

Marchetto was last here in 2007, and Cas­sar has been try­ing to se­cure him for years. Even­tu­ally he gave up be­cause the artist could never make it. Then Marchetto called him to ask if he could come to Cape Town. His act is in­cred­i­bly clever, ut­terly bril­liant, and per­formed with no di­a­logue. Hu­mor­ous yes, but how does it fit in with the Funny Fes­ti­val?

If you’ve not been be­fore – this year is the 12th fes­ti­val – the show is a com­bi­na­tion of el­e­ments be­cause Cas­sar says he learnt very quickly that au­di­ences sim­ply can­not laugh non-stop for 90 min­utes.Kev Orkian is a guy with funny bones, says Cas­sar. “He de­vel­oped his skills around Vic­tor Borge and is the top pi­ano co­me­dian in the world. His act is just spectacular.”

I asked Cas­sar how he keeps the fes­ti­val fresh, and why it man­ages to achieve a month-long sold-out sea­son in win­ter, when Capeto­ni­ans no­to­ri­ously hi­ber­nate.

“I am hum­bled and flab­ber­gasted we get an au­di­ence ev­ery year, and ter­ri­bly grate­ful, Cas­sar says. “We re­spect the au­di­ence in nu­mer­ous ways and present com­edy at a dif­fer­ent level, and se­condly, the show is always dif­fer­ent.”

This year, the wardrobe re­quire­ments have gone one step fur­ther with a Car­ducci spon­sor­ship and all the co­me­di­ans will be el­e­gantly suited. “It’s a thank you to the per­form­ers as well,” says Cas­sar. I can ap­pre­ci­ate this; ev­ery man looks good in a well-cut suit.

An­other way to re­spect the au­di­ence is that no swear words are al­lowed. “Not on my stage,” as­serts Cas­sar. Not be­cause he is a prude, no not at all, but he feels the the­atre-go­ing au­di­ence is that small, there is no rea­son to make it smaller by of­fend­ing and alien­at­ing them.

Glen Bi­der­man-Pam is a young up-and-com­ing comic from Jo­han­nes­burg and a fan­tas­tic ac­tor, says Cas­sar. “All fan­tas­tic ac­tors don’t get enough work so they do com­edy and his ob­ser­va­tional style is so good. He does a piece on cricket that is just mag­nif­i­cent.

“Gino Fab­bri is an im­per­son­ator from Port El­iz­a­beth. Has a range of 10 char­ac­ters and I’ve asked him to do two.”

Then there are the Big Boys.It’s a naked towel danc­ing act. Wait, what? Are they re­ally naked?

“Yes Bianca, they are re­ally naked,” Cas­sar as­sured me. “But you see noth­ing. They dance and in­ter­act with the tow­els and never drop them...then one does...”

Ap­par­ently the dress code does not ap­ply to them. And if there is any­thing bet­ter than a man in a suit, it’s two men in tow­els.

The Funny Fes­ti­val runs from Mon­day till Au­gust 7 at the Bax­ter The­atre. Tick­ets are R170 avail­able through Com­puticket. Gen­er­ous dis­counts are of­fered with bulk book­ings. The fes­ti­val sup­ports nu­mer­ous char­i­ties ei­ther by of­fer­ing gen­er­ous bulk dis­counts to clubs, schools and civic as­so­ci­a­tions, who use it as a fund raiser or by sup­port­ing the Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Trust and the May­oral Fund.

For more in­for­ma­tion see www.ed­dy­cas­sarpr.co.za

Big Boys

Glen Bie­der­man-Pam

En­nio Marchetto

Gino Fab­bri

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