NAF18 is off to a rous­ing start

Sunday Express - - ENTERTAINMENT -

YOU know you’ve hit gold at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val when you see six back-to-back shows and there’s very lit­tle to com­plain about. And the word on the street is that al­most ev­ery show is get­ting rous­ing ap­plause.

The crowds on Fri­day started con­verg­ing in full force in the city with a big heart that’s loaded with cul­ture in ev­ery shape, way and form.

A pre-show walk and browse through the Vil­lage Green also demon­strated that there is craft aplenty from as far as Harten­bos in the Over­berg, to made right here in Joza town­ship.

On the for­mal stages there were high­lights all round? Two time Emmy award win­ner Loy­iso Gola re­turned to the Fringe with his a new show chal­leng­ing all the norms we shouldn’t take for granted — pol­i­tics, race, his­tory and the more mun­dane is­sues of ev­ery­day life. It all slips out so ef­fort­lessly — satir­i­cal wit aplenty to be taken with a lit­tle pinch of salt.

Loy­iso Madinga is another co­me­dian to watch as he takes on the Gup­tas and oth­ers that are just their own vic­tims of their ridicu­lous­ness. Noth­ing but noth­ing in life and South Africa in par­tic­u­lar is left sa­cred. The good news is that for fes­ti­val-go­ers you can still catch them for the rest of the week­end.

On a more se­ri­ous note, Jemma Kahn’s sim­ply bril­liant The Bor­row Pit is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at two con­tro­ver­sial artists Lu­cien Freud and Fran­cis Ba­con and their trou­bled lives and in­ter­ac­tions with their part­ners who were also their muses. She clev­erly and mas­ter­fully uses the an­cient art of kamishibai in which paint­ing and pho­to­graphs are printed on pull out boards — a ge­nius way of il­lus­trat­ing the sur­round ac­tion on stage.

From art to dance, Mamela Nyamza’s work is not the kind you sim­ply take ly­ing down. In an in­ter­view she once said her aim is not to sim­ply en­ter­tain but to get au­di­ences out of their com­fort zones.

This year’s Na­tional Fea­tured Artist, the ac­claimed, the provoca­tive, the in­cred­i­bly tal­ented Nyamza Fri­day night flighted Hatched, the se­quel to Hatch, which she aired 10 years ago — a highly per­sonal work about be­ing a mother. Her son Amkele Mandla ap­pears with her, draw­ing and rap­ping.

Au­di­ences in a packed au­di­to­rium were also treated to an ex­quis­ite show­case from the Cape Dance Com­pany called In­ter­play where clas­sic and more con­tem­po­rary and cut­ting edge dance were mas­ter­fully per­formed.

Mthuthuzeli Novem­ber’s su­perbly chore­ographed The Rite of Pas­sage (as­sisted by Lee van der Merwe) was a fine ex­am­ple of co­or­di­nated move­ment, strength and skilled danc­ing about the jour­ney into adult­hood which left the au­di­ence ap­pre­cia­tively cheer­ing.

This was just a smat­ter­ing of the 200 plus shows that were flighted Fri­day. Satur­day and Sun­day’s pro­gramme is jam-packed too.

On Satur­day I am look­ing for­ward to lis­ten­ing to jazz ladies Zenzi Makeba Lee and Amanda Tif­fin, who have spo­ken for years about get­ting to­gether and now are fi­nally do­ing it.

Zenzi is the grand­daugh­ter of Miriam Makeba and she and Tif­fin have amaz­ing cre­den­tials be­tween the two of them and are sure to rus­tle up things on stage. Later on tenor sax supremo Sisonke Xonti will chill late night au­di­ences among other mu­sos sched­uled to per­form in a var­ied pro­gramme.

You can also get hyp­no­tised by Dr Stef, orgo on a range of art walk­a­bouts con­ducted by the artists them­selves and also take in a range of kid’s shows from The Magic Jewel to Juke­box Ju­nior, and be en­tranced by the clas­sic story of The Lit­tle Princewrit­ten by An­toine de Saint Ex­u­pery about a man tak­ing on his in­ner child.


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