Fringe 50 Reviews

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2350
Artwork by Izelle Taljaard

We will update this page daily with 50-word reviews of Fringe productions, written by local Fest enthusiasts. For any queries on Fringe 50, email Karen Kouari at k.kouari@ru.ac.za.

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4
I’m afraid I can only comment on one half of the performance, as most of the time my eyes were filled with tears from the sheer beauty of the other half. Showcasing a gay love story and tales of the past, the dancers were beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful — I can’t say that word enough. JT

31 Days –The Musical Journal
An innocent man wrestles with hope in a lawless prison cell while awaiting trial. The dose of drama, dance and song makes this a pleasurable performance. Simply put: it has a bit of everything to match everyone’s cuppa tea! NN

A Sense of Loss
An insightful documentary about citizens during the time of Ireland’s struggle for independence. The opinions that are expressed allow you to feel all the feelings from both sides of the spectrum. Makes you think about the same feelings and emotions that people may be experiencing today. MS

Aca-scuse me?
Wynberg Boys’ High School is gifted with an incredibly talented group of vocalists. The choice of songs for this performance evoke a nostalgic feeling that will have you grooving in your seat. Their upbeat energy was outstanding and their passion was evident. AB

Academie
If Enya and the Cranberries collaborated on an album that was produced by the Eurythmics, this would be the outcome. The blend of electronic and acoustic instruments enabled the evolution of a unique, organic sound. A fresh and immersive listening experience that is both deep and invigorating. MRW

Acoustiq Assassins
This talented young band originates from KwaZulu-Natal. The performance combines dance, poetry, and music to give the audience a well-crafted and immersive experience. Their music is thoroughly entertaining and will leave you feeling uplifted. RC

Across the Bridge
This compelling and poignant story is brought to life by an exceptionally talented cast who hold the audience enthralled. The show explores pertinent issues of morality and justice in the face of adversity in a powerful and thought-provoking way. Palpable emotion is portrayed through brilliant acting, outstanding choreography and excellent music. AK

Agony
Piece by agonising piece, a man in self-imposed confinement shares his story. Exposed to recurring domestic violence, rejection and sexual abuse, the scars of his childhood leave him broken and alone. Left with little more than his music and his beloved cats, he has one last performance to give. An excellent portrayal. LG

Alan Committie: 180 Punchlines! (Three Laughs a Minute)
The audience just loved this fast-talking, Banks-esque piece complete with commentary on life and an explorative detour into physical theatre, expressive dance and interpretive movement. The wardrobe was clearly a huge hit. Committie fans will undoubtedly be delighted! LK

All Gone!
A light hearted, bi-lingual, one-man performance with a valuable life lesson. This show follows a man who has made numerous mistakes in his life, but only realises when it is too late. Provoking, yet comical performance. EM

A Man and his Dog
Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi is magnificent in his passionate storytelling of memories and pain, and what it means to be a South African. Interspersed with humour, he absorbs the role of each character, living the emotion. Profoundly moving and spiritual, deeply painful, and yet a wonderful story of tradition and culture. LT

Aminal
Dave Knowles is “Aminal” in this masterfully blended piece of musical theater, combining bass, electric guitar, throat singing, rap, and an astounding range of vocals. A mesmerising, energetic and soulful performance, deeply intimate and engaging, Knowles keeps the audience enthralled from start to emotional finish. JT

Angels On Horseback : Reloaded
This cabaret comically deals with relationships within contemporary society. It is performed in both English and Afrikaans. The use of a piano gives the performance a Western texture. If you are a fan of music from the American South, this show is for you. RB

Angels with Horns
The drama follows Joseph, a man of god, exposing tragedy and hypocrisy in faith along his journey. After a tragedy, the audience relates to the story through the young Josephina, who comes to represent truth and integrity. While occasionally overwrought, overall the vibrant cast produces an entertaining production. RC

Ant
This piece of bizarro theatre goes from hilarious to horrifying and back again in a matter of seconds. Between the energetic performance and the dark comedy, you will find yourself entertained and fascinated every minute of the play. This take on the Mad Scientist is nothing short of refreshing. SY

Ants Job
Three female actors show the daily reality women have to endure every day in Somalia including public rape and violence on their dangerous way to get water. An intense performance that is certainly meant to be shocking, but can be quite disturbing at times.
A good visualisation of the disastrous conditions in this war-torn country. AD

Apologies in Advance
Brilliant performance — nothing rehearsed, completely impromptu and off the cuff. An interactive show where the performers engage with the audience and they learn to find everyday life amusing. Crazy funny, absolutely amazing show. WK

Asanda Bam Trio
A thrilling performance of songs that range from Afro-soul, Jazz and R&B. The combination of Asanda’s vocal ability and the amazing sound system will get you tapping, clapping and even singing along. This is a must-see concert for lovers of live music. Simply amazing. TS

Au Revoir
Another phenomenal, energetic and all-round fabulous performance by Follow Spot Productions. A collaboration of exceptional dancing, hilarious comedy and astounding vocals forms a show that has something in it for everybody to enjoy. If you can only see one show at festival, this is the one to go to. EM

Barlo & the Ministers
A delightful way to spend your afternoon or evening. This group of musicians have undeniable chemistry that translates into their magical musical arrangement. Every performer had a chance to shine and express their talent. LM

Bayephi
A historically-contextualised storyline that is disguised in contemporary societal issues. It drives you to sympathise and grow with the characters who epitomise strength and agility. Seamlessly directed to integrate both the lived experiences of the indigenous people and mystical elements that create a bit of tension. KM2

This is an intense performance that looks at a young girl’s efforts to make sense of her past. The performers do an exceptional job of relaying the emotions of love and loss that, although in the past, still play out in the present. All of this is presented with songs and poetry that leave the audience with the challenge to face their own demons. NN

Best of Rob van Vuuren
No matter how slick the comedian, the nature of a ‘best of’ show makes the first performance very difficult. The audience is careful and doesn’t offer much in the way of fodder. But Rob knows what he’s doing and he pulled it off. Some impromptu laughs and some well-practiced pieces. This can only get better. LG

Bits and Pieces
An absorbing production about the pertinent aspects of present-day South Africa. It features a talented cast, great acting, splendid costumes, excellent choreography, as well as effective use of music and lighting. Some solutions and steps towards reconciling the issues are posed, and some startling truths about the plot are revealed. AK

Black President
This historical play is about Mandela’s long walk to freedom. The cast is highly active, dancing and singing traditional patriotic songs. The play reminds us of the costs that had to be paid for democracy. RB

Blood and Snow
This poetry and storytelling piece is performed by a woman with her husband on guitar. It is an account of her recovery from lymphoma. The piece includes footage of her, giving it an artistic touch. Deep and emotional. RB

Blood, Sweat and a Tear
A troupe of five male and two female dancers carry the audience through the hardships of life and love in a thought-provoking contemporary performance, with a highly emotive male solo. This performance showcases the often messy and difficult path that life follows with the effective use of specific, coloured costumes. EM

Blood Wedding
Physical and visually pleasing. Beautifully choreographed performance laced with a dreamy projected set. The direction was somewhat strange and distracting. Sadly, some moments fell flat as the actors’ voices got lost in the space. Clearly a lot of time and energy went into creating this piece, and that is commendable. CO

Broken English
Loyiso Madinga and Schalk Bezuidenhout deliver two separate, thirty minute, stand-up comedy acts, linked only by their common second language (English) and their easy appeal to a largely youthful audience, with whom they each cheerfully interact. Rapport was good and content well-pitched for teenagers learning how to live in a society slowly growing together. MW

Big Boys The Third
Brad and his brother Ash are in hospital awaiting the birth of Brad’s child, but he feels too immature to live up to the responsibility of being a father. Multimedia interaction, dancing, and smart humour leaves the audience with a tear of happiness. RB

Blurred Lines
Gelb’s pleasant personality is laced with a quirkiness which translates clearly throughout the performance. The core themes and narratives were clearly understood and shared throughout, creating a truly captivating and mystical experience for the viewer. CO

Boy Ntulikazi
This dramatic play deals with the overwhelming problem in South Africa of abandoned children. It touches on the philosophy of Ubuntu and stresses the point that if people lived by this philosophy, it would be a better world. This play is for those concerned with the welfare of our youth. RB

Brew
A soulful performance that moves the heart. The harmonising sounds that fill the room are chill-inducing. It’s a brilliant opportunity to sit down and enjoy the ambience of the live band. The musicians create a moment to remember. LM

Brush up your Broadway
Song, and a little bit of dance, will keep you entertained throughout the whole performance. The music is great, with Susan Kunju on piano while Hleze Kunju and Raymond Ndhlovu sang slightly modified versions of Broadway hits. All three are exceptionally talented, creative and funny. Loved every second of it. SL

Bucket List
An entertaining and amusing one-woman show. With minimal props and a really good physical presence, this artist digs into the humdrum cycle of our lives and gives her audience a chance to contemplate their purpose, direction and happiness from a humorous angle. LK

Burn
Unusual, captivating, seductive and just a little unnerving. The perfectly matched music and choreography serve as a vivid warning that mankind’s curiosity and arrogance will lead to our ultimate end. This edgy performance was carefully arranged and executed to convey the message that ultimately, we all will burn. MRW

Butlers and Bloopers
An hour of slapstick to brighten a chilly day, involving a few slick character changes and a story line that matters little. Somewhat like Faulty Towers Justin Wilkinson brings slick entertainment suited for all ages. MW

Cattle Drive
This production is a brilliant showpiece in a league of its own! The story follows two brothers separated by circumstances that compels them to go on a cattle drive together. The impeccable acting and gripping storytelling will definitely leave you raving. Add it to your 11 days of amazing! NN

Celebration: Music of American Composers
Althea Waites delivers a breath-taking performance that captivates the imagination. Her interpretation of both modern day and vintage composers is full of subtle nuances that can only be produced by masters. The music itself is a combination of Western tonality fused with subtle hints of jazz. MRW

Chaos
Frantic voices rage about the chaos around us. Money, politics, and religion are embodied in believable characters who fight each other in an endless cycle of betrayal, violence and disillusionment. This play takes stories from the now and sets them in the world of a mythical battle ground. CH

Chris Chameleon in Boo!
Absolutely mind-blowing! Chris Chameleon’s vocal range is something one has to hear for themselves to believe. Perfect pitch from deep and throaty to long-lasting sopranos. The drumming was indescribable. The pair have every note perfectly in sync. Adding a splash of humour and expression turned this into an excellent performance! MC

Christine Weir and the Kilts
Supported by four extremely talented musicians, Weirs’s beautiful lilting voice offers Celtic music at its best from foot-stomping, well-known Scottish songs to some hauntingly beautiful traditional music. As a story-teller, her gentle humour engages the audience throughout the show. Great ending – spoil yourself! LT

Cia
Cia delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, enthusiastic performance with a great atmosphere. An interesting blend of music ranging from Rhythm and Blues to Rihanna, providing something for all music tastes. Cia’s brilliant voice and excellent guitarist and drummer give the audience a fun time. AK

Comedy Masterclass
It seems that Aaron McIlroy has been delighting “Festinos” with his versatile and inventive comedy throughout Festival history. While most comedians are mired in contemporary mud, McIlroy’s vision transcends time and space as he sets a benchmark for all stand-up comedians. Suitable for all ages and genders. MW

Continuous Pain
In this production, a young girl Lindiwe finds shelter with a homeless family. Both sides are hiding secrets from each other. Most of the play is performed in isiXhosa, and subsequently the background of the characters’ dramatic fates is not easy for everyone to understand. AD

Couplet
Clever costumes and detailed puppet characters came to life amidst a simple, shifting set; manipulation of props sparked vivid imagination. However, the acting and storytelling was didactic and sanctimonious. Several seemingly disconnected stories were told – and poorly enunciated – with the aim of preaching good behaviour, leaving one to wonder who the intended audience really was. JT

Cult Clit
The play is based on the real-life situation of Mr Frederiksen, who was arrested for the murder and genital mutilation of multiple women. The accounts of six victims, who have been accused of his murder, are given. This story casts light on the alarming issue of female abuse in South Africa. RB

Curvature
Showcasing incredible strength and suppleness, Ashley Kim Wakefield demonstrates that being skinny or muscular is not the most important factor in our relationship with our bodies. Supple, toned, and flexible she demonstrates breath-taking control in pole work and floor exercises. Strong is definitely the new skinny. LT

Crucifixion of AmaGqwirha
This locally-produced adaptation of The Crucible opens your eyes to the reality that is the practice of witchcraft in South Africa. The questions that the performers ask the accused eerily resemble the stubbornness of those who commit mob justice today. An important production that is definitely worth a watch. RB

Dance Spectrum
Featuring students from the National School of Arts, this performance showcases ballet, contemporary and Spanish dance. It’s a dazzling display of young talent, skill and choreography. Solo dancer Navin Jacobs stood out for his power and ability. The final flamenco dance was the perfect way to end the show. RC

Dangled
‘Horror comedy’ is an apt description of this piece. It is an excellent but deeply disturbing glimpse of unravelling sanity, unveiling sexual rage and mental dysfunction. Don’t get too comfortable in your seat – this will mess with your mind, challenge and disconcert you on every level. LG

Dear Mr Government, Please May I Have a Meeting with You Even Though I’m Six Years Old?
This powerful performance deals with some of the very real issues that many South African children are dealing with. It shows the lengths a mother would go to protect her children. It illustrates the ineffectiveness of government in addressing poverty, lack of basic resources, and homelessness. A good portrayal of a depressing subject. TVO

Dikelo and Bongile
This dynamic duo gives a mesmerising afro-soul musical experience. Performing songs about resilience, hope and and following your dreams, everything about them and their music is relatable. A perfect way to spend a winter evening. MM

Diketso
A production that leaves one with affirmation of the spiritual realm’s existence. A mother loses her son and finally gives in to answering an ancestral call after tremendous spiritual torture. Although it’s narrated in Sotho, a connection can be made through focusing on the choreography and movement flow. NM

Dr Stef’s Side-splitting Hypnosis.
A sold-out performance full of enthusiastic participants. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and perhaps even curse out loud as you try and wrap your head around the mystery. Hilarious, shocking, risqué, awkward and entertaining. Certainly worth your money! TVO

Ekurhuleni Jazz Esemble
This jazz band kicks off the show with a lively tempo. An ensemble of brass instruments are complemented by skilled guitarists and an energetic drummer. The solo performers, each with their own distinct touch, are exceptional. Their passion is transparent throughout the whole show. AB

El Blanco
James Cairns interacts directly with the audience using superb acting and characterisation, outstanding voice talent combined with excellent music and singing to present this brilliantly funny show. Effective use of lighting and background music gives the audience a taste of Latin America. Be lied to, but truthfully, in this entertaining production. AK

Eland Gray (aka Gary Thomas)
This performance takes the listener on a spellbinding journey through Eland Gray’s newer songs, as well as some older material. The performance is peppered with anecdotal commentary on his creative process. This one-man band conjures an ethereal, sonic landscape through an innovative approach to the unplugged genre. A virtuosic treat. MRW

Ellipses
This eclectic blend of dance and theatre spanning multiple genres and languages forms a statement on the inadequacy of modern communication. Through a series of pieces effortlessly strung together, this piece showcases a large and diverse cast of young, talented performers. SY

Elton John and Friends
Follow Spot Productions never fail to impress. As per usual, Ash and Brad, this time in the company of two incredible new voices, give their audience a rocking, rolling, stand-up and sing-along show to delight in. Heard outside afterwards: “… all the good stuff! Oh my! It was wonderful!” And I have to agree. LK

Emkhathini
Despite poor acoustics in the hall, the performers managed to convey unique, vibrant characters. The dancers were daring, the actors authentic. The two men on drums evoked the heartbeat of the universe. The stage was alive with colour and bodies, and shrouded in atmosphere. JT

Equilibrium
An outstanding performance by eight highly-talented dancers showcasing a combination of dance styles. At times emotional and thought-provoking, other times awe-inspiring. Each sequence is performed with emotion and seemingly effortless flexibility. Superb choreography, flawless timing and a spectacular ending make this performance exceptional. EM

Esports Lounge
The Esports Lounge is a public viewing of a Hearthstone and Overwatch tournaments including comments and analysis from the ‘casters.’ To understand the comments and jokes, one should know the video games. Fun for viewers familiar with the games. Even though it’s not a common theatre play, the actors convince with their funny and authentic manner. AD

Evident Path
An intense performance that allows the audience to travel back through African history. It begins with the contemporary world, before tracing back to the roots of the Khoi-San culture. The combination of the lighting effects and dynamic dancers created a captivating atmosphere. AB

Face For Radio
Wow, this blow me away good! I laughed and laughed, barely catching my breath. Dalin Olivier is a top notch conversational stand-up genius. Easy, accessible, nostalgic and diverse in the best kind of way. I loved every minute of this great show. Dalin you make us proud to be South African! LK

Falling off the Horn
A vibrant and captivating depiction of the perils of migration, told with nuance and verve. The choreography is, at times, raucously funny, featuring lively and comedic group scenes. The cast’s larger than life performances become truly entrancing in their stirring depictions of xenophobia, religious intolerance and loss. EL

Family Portrait
A perfectly executed dance production that is relevant to contemporary family scenarios.  Four kids being raised by a single mother are facing different demons of their own, as a result of an abusive and absent father. NM

FEDA Winning Play: Disruption
Powerful, evocative and profoundly stirring, Disruption is the collaborative work of an exceptionally talented young cast, exploring themes that are central to the LGBTQIA community. Using social media as a lens, we view poignant portrayals of moments in the lives of its characters and those dear to them. A must-see. GK

Fees Must Fall Drama
Inspiring? Yes. Entertaining? Somewhat. Its main focus is conveying the message of the #FeesMustFall protests. Acted out by primary school learners, the message is quite powerful. SM

Fire House
Book your tickets now! Vibrant, physical and smokingly modern. Three honest firefighters put their lives on the line in arguably one of the most relevant performances at NAF this year.  Despite a few stumbles, Fire House is new and can only grow in stature. I’d like to see this again. CO

Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse
Well-known funnyman Rob van Vuuren and fellow comedienne Danielle Bischoff give a dazzling interactive performance, telling the story of a sugarbush mouse with special powers. The duo manages to keep the kids engaged, entertained and giggling throughout. MM

Fortyfied
Nik Rabinowitz, fluent in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and Yiddish, maintains his quick-fire monologue for a full and tightly packed hour to an appreciative audience. Now relatively senior in his generation of stand-up comics, he has the ability to make us laugh at ourselves and our world without being offensive. MGW 

From the Classroom to the Stage
Khanyisa Bunu’s bubbly personality and charisma blows you away in this immensely humorous and feel-good show. An entertaining exploration of her intriguing journey from teacher to comedian; and of the South African schooling system and politics. Anybody looking for an enjoyable and stimulating experience should see this fantastic show. AK

Funny You Should Say That
Festival comedy at its best. Stuart Taylor expertly entertains with clever wit and play on words. Features humour ranging from current politics to parodying South African society and social media usage, throwing in some visual illusions makes the show truly hilarious and fantastic. You will laugh constantly while having a great time. AK

Gage
Three highly talented musicians from Kimberly provide an outstanding performance for rock music lovers. This unusually constructed band consists of a drummer who is also the lead vocalist, providing a unique dimension to their highly enjoyable performance. An energetic, loud and enthusiastic performance, well worth attending for all die-hard rock fans. EM

Game Over
A traditional South African story of a sangoma’s wife. It uses traditional song and dance to share one story, highlighting the many lives of South African women and their struggle to survive in their harsh realities. KB

Giving Birth To My Father
Giving Birth To My Father weaves a tragic tapestry of the defining moments of a young woman who, against all odds, weaves a new tapestry that redefines who she thought she was supposed to be. Sincere, brutal and honest. Thembakazi Gxabu delivers an incredible performance. MRW

Granny Susan Incredible
A super-powered fun show for kids that will not bore the parents. Granny Susan is such a lovable character you cannot help but love spending time with this unexpected super-woman. Her journey is imaginative and silly, with a strong message of kindness and generosity at its heart. CH

Guilty or Not Guilty?
Story about a woman who was killed in a small village. This proves to almost tear the family apart as they start suspecting each other of the killing. Dramatic, with exceptional actors who performed with grace. LN

Guy Buttery
Guy Buttery is quite simply a phenomenal master of his art, bringing his acoustic guitar to life and literally making it dance in a way that represents so many different instruments.  From delicate and light to mind-bending and almost impossible sounds, this man is a pure music sensation! LT

Hani: The Legacy
A story that commemorates one of the most influential heroes of South Africa. The storyline is portrayed by an optimist and conscious youth, grounded in contemporary standards of living, but does not lose the historically rich and pervasive narrative it aims to convey. A truly remarkable production that is a crowd-favourite. KM2

Heavier
Kagiso ‘KG’ Mogadi delivers a fantastic stand-up comedy performance through a down-to-earth, humble approach. This gentle giant captures the audience’s attention as he tackles issues such as the poor economy, crime, romance and overcoming racial stereotypes with clever wit. KG is boldly funny and refreshingly original. WK

Helen of Troyeville
An excellent performance told through the eyes of Helen, a privileged woman trapped physically and emotionally, who reflects on the life she has lived. We share in her journey of uncomfortable truths, parallel worlds, unwilling sacrifices, human desperation and waves of hope. Uncontrived and flawless delivery of a remarkable script. LG

How Did I Get Here?
Mojak Lehoko — “international Emmy-nominated comedian” — fully lived up to his billing on a cold winter’s night as he engaged with his audience, ranging from high school scholars to some grandparents, on a wide variety of personal issues. He achieved a fine balance between personal quips and a more general humorous take on life in the Gauteng region. Strongly recommended to all in need of “laughter — the best medicine.” MW

Human Pieces II
The drama centers on two siblings locked in a room – one desperately tries to escape and the other wants to stay. Equal parts strange, disturbing and thought-provoking, the performers are unafraid to tackle taboo issues. Punctuated by moments of absurd humour, it’s a visceral experience. RC.

Impilo ya Mansi
This show highlights the importance of water through dance. It caters to everyone who loves dance, the performers show elements of contemporary dance, hip-hop, ballet and traditional dance throughout the performance. There is a lot of athleticism and playing around the space, and the solos introduce you to each performer. SB

Impregnated By Dance
An energetic performance that captures the audience with a variety of intriguing dance styles. It has a compelling message that illustrates how you should follow your passion regardless of the hardships you may face. This production was vivid and powerful. AB

In(s)kin
This gripping piece tells a tale of memory, identity and language through a blend of movement, speech and film. Set in 1980s South Africa, In(s)kin addresses issues of race, language and trauma as it walks the audience through the creator’s experience of learning English, and being caught between the white world of his boarding school and his own Blackness. SY

Isibuko
The unpredictable, secret aspects of life usually arrive at the most inconvenient of times. Isibuko portrays this through presenting how the absence of fatherhood often results in issues of disguised and/or misguided identities. The spin of events throughout the production leaves the audience in a state of suspense. NM

Isikhalo Sam, My Children
With a large dose of humour for the audience, this piece shows an old man struggling with his children as well as life’s challenges at his age. This performance not only displays unique talent of every individual, but also brings out the African spirit out on the stage. JC

It Could Have Been Worse
Domestic violence is masked by comedy. Nkululeko Nigidi’s use of minimal props and simple staging helps showcase the exuberant energy of the actors. Performance intertwined with music and song, true to an African tale. CO

Izim le Toilet
Based on a true story of a child who drowned in a toilet, this piece aims to portray just that in a more natural setting. SM

jack and jill
Everything in the universe is connected. Join two struggling young artists as fate has them meet up in a chance encounter. Follow their journey of discovery dealing with uncomfortable issues of jealousy, sexuality, doubt, sexism and impulsivity; and realising that one should celebrate one’s own uniqueness in this difficult world. JDK

James Cairns against Humanity
Uniquely imaginative and improvised comedy fuelled by eager audience participation. Cairns’ cunning assessment and development of the themes is skilfully applied with his development of continuity using a sequence of incongruous vignettes. CO

James and the Giant Peach
A highly entertaining version of a much-loved story. A lonely boy, his cruel aunts and marvellous magical things. Enthusiastic audience participation was encouraged and the child sitting next to us could barely contain his excitement as the tale unfolded. LG

James Harris Live
From the haunting opening note to the emotive closing note, deep passion and emotion flow through this talented young musician and his instruments (guitar, voice, and piano). The entire gamut of emotions, from anguish to awe and laughter, is explored through his music, leaving you wanting more. LT

Jittery Citizens Comedy Experience
A guaranteed laugh! Brilliant to see solo female performers included in this year’s festival. Ullman presented an impressive line-up of stand-up comedians. Many laughs were shared. CO

Joanne Cooper
Acoustic Folk music at its finest! Performing old favourites, as well as her originals, Cooper’s flawless voice is crystal-clear and every word can be heard. With thought-provoking lyrics and exceptional accompaniment from the talented Lebo, this show is fun, nostalgic and an outstanding way to spend an hour. LT

Joining the Dots
Joining the Dots is not only a relevant production with its focus on women’s issues but it is weaved in a beautiful, collective flow and strikes the heart. The show is sealed by a demonstration of strength and hope. NM

Julian Sanchez Carballo
“I like to focus on sound than focus on harmony because I think these instruments are brilliant”, he says. The range of instruments he uses make some unique sounds which he fails to exploit. Perhaps it’s a matter of preference. If you are after sound and no rhythm, then this is a must see for you. SM

Just a Song and a Dance
Enjoy a light-hearted, feel-good performance by two hugely talented artists. They complement each other beautifully, and not just with their singing. They interact with the audience, leading to lots of chuckles. A special mention must be made for their expressive soundcheck person. TVO

Ke Reke Kereke?
This short film critically yet humorously explores the complexities of contemporary churches in South Africa. It cleverly illustrates the ways in which the greed of the modern world has transformed religious operations. The actors played their roles convincingly and managed to blur the lines between the film and reality. LM

Kinsmen
This skilled trio plays music that has its roots in Jazz and Indian classical, but branches out to include a more encompassing sound, transcending the boundaries of musical tradition and resonating with humility and interconnectedness. Using the sitar, tabla and tenor saxophone, the audience is transported to a faraway place, close to the divine. GK

Kubili
A dance production with an interesting interpretation of the challenges women currently face. Each scene brings different dynamics delivered with great skill. Though quite lengthy, it is definitely worth it until the end. NM

Laced
A playful, attention-grabbing physical theatre production that shows the interrogation process of a private detective extracting the truth from a witness. Through their interaction, a deeper story is revealed in their fight to discern fact from fiction. KB

Laqhekek’ Iselwa
A sincere, captivating IsiXhosa play about tradition and identity issues. The play touches a lot on societal ills such as rape, gender-based violence and drugs. There is a lot of positive messages throughout the play. I only recommend it for Xhosa people as the language gets quite deep at times. TS

Lefa Mosea
For a good 60 minutes, we relived the era where music was not just a source of entertainment and indulgence, but to create consciousness of the existing socio-political issues. Each member of this five-man band give unique offering that is tied beautifully with smooth yet groovy melodies. KM2

Lend Me a Tenor
Are you in the mood for something funny and light-hearted? Could you do with a bout of rib-tickling laughter? Then treat yourself to this highly entertaining comedy, full of farcical moments and some really humorous lines. You’ll certainly laugh, and you’ll laugh a lot! A fast-paced and well-executed farce. LG

Let There Be Music – A Celebration Of World Music
A brilliant performance by the Hoërskool Randburg Choir with accompaniement by the Pretoria Jazz ensemble, Majazi. They offer an elegant blend of some of the world’s most beautiful languages in joyful songs that indeed speak of a celebration. This experience leaves you enthralled and wanting more. WM

Life
Rob van Vuuren has been a veteran at NAF for twenty years but retains his zest and enthusiasm for playing with his audience. Fatherhood has given him a new and changing range of topics to explore. Fans will look forward to an inspired vision of parenthood in years to come. MW

Life Lyne
This is a charismatic, alternative rock/gospel band with an uplifting message of love and support. The songs were catchy, with powerful vocals and a variety of genres, ranging from ballads, to Afrikaans sokkie and reggae. A fantastic performance. GK

Liquid Silver: Sanctuary
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, three dancers deliver a mesmerising performance worthy of the main stage. The contemporary dance explores themes of connection and healing using light, sound and fluid movement. It’s a wonderful example of the ability of dance to examine contemporary cultural themes. RC

Live Jukebox
Live Jukebox offers young, rowdy audiences a chance to blow off some steam. The show is a combination of a karaoke show and a drinking game. It is loud, proud and makes no apologies for any and all hangovers that may occur. Audience participation is encouraged. MRW

Live Wire Explosion Reloaded
Extraordinary musical theatre that is highly entertaining. The production examines the issue of identity, and how environment, culture, and family can influence its construction. An enjoyable performance. TC

Living It Up at the Heartbreak Café
An energetic performance brings a small town cafe in Parys to life. Exuberant and saucy, this bare bones, no nonsense production is bursting with personality. Taking you behind the scenes of the Heartbreak Café, this show is a must see for those searching for humour in the hospitality industry. EL

Love Sex Fleas God, Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad
A sincere, emotive, and thought-provoking story by a stay-at-home father about his hardships and the different relationships that shape his values, and contribute to his input as a family man. AR

Loyiso Gola is Unlearning
For 90 enthralling minutes, Loyisa Gola demonstrates why he is probably the most highly regarded stand-up comedian of the present generation (and why the show deserves the 16+ age recommendation). Despite unplanned “noises off” from a baby, the free concert downstairs and the winds above, he engages his audience with autobiographical anecdotes and scatological humour. MGW

Mae Sithole
An outstanding musical performance by Mae Sithole and the band, who love making music with a positive message. Mae Sithole is not only a great performer but also a brilliant songwriter. The band’s members introduced themselves with exceptional rhythms and extraordinary harmonies. Most of the songs were based on love. MN

Make It Up!
Entertaining and hilarious audience participation. I particularly enjoyed the random points system. The host read as somewhat overwhelmed – perhaps the 10:30 slot is a bit too early for improvisation. The actors’ commitment to each scene was impressive, as well as Fat Pete’s gorgeous singing. Commendably South Africa’s longest running comedy show. CO

Marriage for Dummies
This dynamic duo never disappoints. If you are in need of a good laugh and a relaxed evening out, this is the show to watch. A quirky mixture of comedy, dance, and music with interesting insight in how to make a marriage last. It will keep you well entertained. JDK

Mate
A strictly adult, one-woman show portraying the role of three very different 30-something single women in the most realistic and gut-wrenching way. The switch between characters is outstanding and utterly believable. Many laughs and situations are brazenly presented and extremely relatable. Delightfully fresh, accurate and in some cases, heart-rending. MC

Meduduetsane Basadi
A fantastic performance delivered by the group. The audience was on its feet in the middle of their performance, and gave a standing ovation at the end. The show beautifully celebrated women of hope, strength, faith and devotion, women who fought for the freedom of South Africa. It will leave you wishing it never ends. MN

Meduduetsane Basadi
An all women act portraying the time of the pass laws and the hardships that black people faced. A true work of art with a mix of poetry, dance and eight powerful female voices which definitely hit home. A standing ovation illustrates just how spectacular this show is. SM

Memorable Moments with Stuart Lightbody
With his sold out first performance, Stuart Lightbody is clearly a master in his field.  He brings an emotional element to the mysterious art of illusion, captivating the audience time and again. One leaves in absolute awe, wondering how? TVO

Mixed Motion 2
An energetic and vibrant young dance troupe perform numerous dance styles such as tap, hip-hop, Spanish, ballet, jazz and contemporary in this enthusiastic and joyful show. Exceptional choreography, beautiful costumes and a superb soundtrack make the performance even more enjoyable. These talented young dancers most certainly deserved the wonderful response shown by the audience. EM

Mmu
An entertaining performance which shows a young man who embarks on a search for his sister. The two siblings grew up together but after the death of their parents they went their separate ways. Flashbacks are effectively used in the play to show the childhood experiences of the characters. Dreams and religion help Simon in his journey. TC

Molora
This piece takes you on the journey of a young girl who witnesses her father’s death at the hands of her mother, and sends her brother away to save him from her step-father. The story is portrayed exceptionally well through the text, dance, and music (the vocals are exquisite). SB

Money Maker Reloaded
Wildly entertaining and very exciting, this production has the audience rolling around with laughter from beginning to the end. It explores, and provides insight of, the day-to-day lives of prostitutes and how they dreamed of being anything but a prostitute. This show deserves the standing ovation it received. WM

My Culture, My Pride
A highly energetic performance showcasing numerous traditional African dances. The addition of a brief explanation for each dance adds an interesting, informative aspect to the performance. Beautiful, traditional costumes are used throughout and each dance is performed with enthusiasm. This show encapsulates the sense of community formed through the use of traditional dance. EM

My Father’s Coat
A speech-like presentation, rather than what would be considered a theatre piece, surrounding the histories of South Africa’s people. The presenter has accumulated sufficient factual knowledge which has been well-conceptualised and communicated from a neutral, unbiased perspective which honours the collection of events which have lead the country to its present status. AR

My Grandfather’s Shoe
This performance tells a story about a shoe left behind by a grandfather famously known for his dance moves in the ’80s. There is an antithesis in the music accompaniment as it jumps from the ’80s to contemporary pop and hip-hop without showing a progression in time. This production has the potential to clearly articulate its meaning, but unfortunately fell short. WM

My Suburban Struggle
CJ Benson centres his one-man comedy around a modern family man living in the suburbs. He captivates the audience with his hilarious struggles in relationships, domestic chores, and current events. A refreshing, feel good comedy that will appeal to all ages. Good laughs were had by all. WK

Nampri’s All in One
Hugely powerful traditional dance group from Dutywa. The men and women do unusual gumboot numbers that have the whole audience beating in time. Then they do a Sangoma dance that makes you feel that the ancestors have arisen. Their smiles, rhythms and immense energy make this an inspiring performance. I enjoyed every beat of their drum. SL

Nat(urally) Caf(feinated)
This interactive and improvised comedy is both awkward and wickedly funny. The cleverly thought out games, with scenarios suggested by the audience, take unexpected twists and turns with hilarious results. The show relies on the lightning quick wits of the comedians, delivering non-stop laughs and physical humour worth watching. MRW

Nate Maingard – The Tales of a Modern Troubadour.
In this exceptional performance, Nate Maingard, a highly talented musician, warms the soul and leaves the audience longing for more. By combining meaningful songs with heartfelt stories, he attempts to explain, and give meaning to, some of the mysteries that we all experience in life. An all-round beautiful performance and well-worth seeing. EM

Nice to Meet you… (Now let’s take off our pants)
Yes please! Comedy dripping with charm. Brilliant to see a performance tackling the stigmas attached to sex. Genevieve Oliver and the cast have done a sublime job turning the works of Tatham and Costa into a fun-loving series of intelligent scenes. Now, let’s put our pants on and go see this show. CO

Nil
This raw performance is as beautiful as it is completely mad. Increasingly absurd activities are ridiculous, but also a strangely poignant reflection of our own attempts to perform and shine in our everyday lives. Wonderfully awkward, moving and heartwarming. CH

Nimbandini 
A moving Xhosa tale tackling the issue of ukuthwalwa, a young girl is deemed an orphan by her family after her only parent passes. She goes on a journey to find her now lost identity and her long-lost mother. MM

Nijinsky’s War
Mesmerising and dramatic, this show is powerful and evocative. Black and white cinematography, accompanied by highly emotive music, forms the backdrop to Ignatius van Heerden, intense and powerful in his dancing. Although at times a little overpowered by the music, the combination of the lighting, film and drama creates a fascinating portrayal. LT

Nomalizo – The Brave
A well-crafted and realistic play which portrays how culture perpetuates the oppression of women. Nomalizo, a brave young lady, is deprived the opportunity of marrying the man she loves because of her culture.  Musical interludes used effectively in this play. The play was performed in such a way that even a person who does not understand the language can get the storyline of the play. TC

Oh Baby, I’m A Wild One
A magnificent performance by Emma Kotze who takes us on a journey through the technicolour mind of a young woman. From a wedding to the back of a classroom; the piece is a perfect mixture of talent and hard-work, blended together to create a vivid masterpiece. JC

Okapi 
A film that explores the blurred lines between justice and revenge with an unapologetic portrayal of life in the township where rape, murder and corruption are the norm. Director Thabo Motlhabi dishes the truth as it is, unsalted and uncensored, and leaves his viewers feeling undone. NN

Opera Found
Soloist Emma Farquharson offers up a musical feast to delight both the opera aficionado and lay-person. She performs arias from classical masters like Mozart, Handel and Puccini with technical proficiency and ease. The staging seemed extraneous, but Farquharson has a powerful stage presence. Her rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Take Me To Your Heart Again” was a definite highlight. RC

Our Dogs: Our Heroes
A disturbing tale of rape and lies that threaten to destroy a community, and the perversion of power by authority figures within it. The use of symbols and eerie lighting heighten the horror, and convey the powerful message of breaking silence. A compelling performance, but not for sensitive viewers. GK

Out of Bounds
The perspectives, culture and upbringing of an Indian man are narrated in this hilarious two-man act. Stereotypes of different cultures are delivered with absolute humour. The show binds together different aspects of being exposed to the apartheid era in a household full of extended family, and daily unpredictable drama. NM

Pay Back the Curry
Critical and objective. Every sold out show, standing ovation and nomination that has been awarded to this performance is deserved. Daniel Richards tore the house down with his unwavering talent.  A reminder to South Africans that we are human beings before anything else. CO

Pink Dollar
Pink Dollar is daring, salacious and quite hilarious. This is a brilliantly mixture of choreography, live performance, acting and evocative music. The play raises questions about tradition, safe spaces, blackness, whiteness and violence in relation to queer South Africa. Refreshing and educational. TS

Plastocracy
A story with a strong moral told through movement, acapella and puppetry; Plastocracy doesn’t show a futuristic dystopia but our present reality. Five actors embody many diverse South African characters as they interact with the consequences of a consumerist society. Plastocracy practices what it preaches with all props, set and costumes made from re-purposed plastic. JT

Poetry Cries
This production gives a scathing portrayal of the audacious nature of the sex slave industry. Certainly not for the faint-hearted. Expressed in a candid and explicit combination of song and poetry, this production serves as an ode to the tortured and marginalised. NN

Qiqa Uqonde Uxhentse
Can you keep up? Qiqa Uqonde Uxhentse is a lively, well-executed dance presented by our very own youth. Not only does this vibrant performance get you clapping along, it also leaves you with a strong sense of cultural pride. Mhle umsebenzi wenu! NN

Raiders of the Caribbean
Such a fun experience to watch these very talented actors in action. They are versatile and use improvisation based on audience participation. Expect the unexpected. A show unlike any we have seen to date. TVO

Refugees
This dramatic play takes the audience back to the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, leaving them questioning the good of humanity. Performed by eight actors, their characters come from different circumstances – some have false hope, whilst others accept loss and defeat. This performance will shock you back to reality. RB

Revery
This performance lives up to its name in a fiery display of talent and raw energy. The syncopation, clever use of instruments and mature sound leaves you buzzing and begging for more. Punk rock with smooth jazzy undertones can only be described as the love-child of Maroon 5 and Evanescence. MRW

Revolution – Ndophele Ngaphakathi
A beautiful dance piece that seeks to illustrate the anger, sorrow and struggle for redemption of the people who faced inhumane treatment during the apartheid era. A powerful performance with both contemporary and African dances. Revolution is an authentic production delivered with passion. MM

Rewriting History
A good, historical and funny offering from Mojak Lehoko. We were entertained and amused by his hystorical musings, his clever wit and remarkable plays on words and concepts. Lehoko impresses with his on-stage presence and easy audience interaction. LK

Rhythm of Makhanda
A novel take on the build up to and the battle of Egazini. Hip hop fans in the audience enjoyed the slick moves of the dancers. I missed some of the humour because it seems the best jokes were in isiXhosa, but I enjoyed the show and so did most of the very vocal audience. SL

Root 2000
The live performance was energetic and brought the audience together for a joyous occasion. From beginning to end, the musicians encouraged the audience to stand up and dance. There was a never a dull moment as the artists are truly passionate and intriguing. AB

Rose Red
Emotional and witty. This evil queen shows  the sad and vulnerable side of her story and how she persevered through it all. Motivation for anyone fighting against the “fairest of them all”. Not to mention the fun musical elements and funny role playing. MS

Sacredspace
Another exceptional performance from the Cape Dance Company. The show consists of three works, each superbly choreographed, diverse and flawlessly performed by a troupe of outstandingly talented dancers. Each complicated movement is performed effortlessly with great attention to detail, passion and emotion. The standing ovation received was certainly deserved. EM

Samthing Soweto
The performance was extraordinary. The sound is a mixture of Ron Isley and R. Kelly. The setting was beautifully intimate and gave way to magical interactions between the audience and the performer. The performance looked effortless in the most stunning way. SB

SchoolBoy
In this stand-up comedy, Nkosinathi Maki hilariously provides us with glimpses of his days as a schoolboy, while sharing jokes on other topics as well. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. MS

Shwabada: The Music of Ndikho Xaba
This fascinating documentary on the career of jazz musician Ndikho Xaba combines stunning visuals, interviews and footage of live performances to trace his experiences of living in exile in the USA during Apartheid. Xaba is praised as an important contributor to the global Black avant-garde tradition. SY

Silent Scars
This powerful portrayal of loss embodies the collective erosion of our traditions and narratives. Stark imagery, astonishing choreography and mesmerising music conspire to immerse the viewer into an intimate, primal acknowledgement of grief and rage. This avant-garde production leaves one feeling vulnerable and unwilling to break the spell. MRW

Sillage
“Children are the cruelest gifts we are given.” A very real, introspective look into the emotionally fraught relationship between a mother and a daughter. This portrays palpable anger and frustration rendered by society’s expectations of the two roles. It touches on the political debates common in many South African households. A journey of discovery that is very close to home. JDK

Sisazabalaza
A touching story of a young boy, Mandla, who has been failed by family and society at large. Mandla’s life offers a lens through which to examine class inequality. Humour combined with controversial issues awakens both the kid and the activist in you. LN

Six Inches
Very funny and greatly entertaining. A talented cast captivates the audience as they narrate an intriguing story – intricately relaying past events that have led to the current situation – in this excellent production. Effective use of lighting, background music and enthralling monologues create a story that the audience can relate to. AK

Skank and The Roots
This five-man reggae band will keep you entertained with sounds they have been crafting for over 20 years. The performance consists of original songs that come with positive messages. The audience was on the stage dancing by the second song. Fantastic and refreshing sound. TS

Sovereign
A meaningful and thought-provoking experience. Sovereign engages with issues such as morality, power and ethics. Excellent acting with well-choreographed movement creates an evocative atmosphere that encourages the audience to ponder on their own perspectives and actions. AK

Spellbound
A delightfully funny and creative show which had both children and adults in hysterics. Beautiful costumes and an amazing switch of character between four actors with many varying roles. A few adult references to keep the parents amused and smiling children’s faces all around. Definitely worth seeing! MC

St. Paul’s Gospel Choir – Red Sea Music
Pure, powerful, inspiring, majestic and overwhelming. 21 voices unite in a brilliantly arranged and perfectly executed performance that rivals great film composers like Hans Zimmer and Lebo M. If the spirit of Africa had a voice, this is what it would sound like. MRW

Starburst MX
This talented ensemble of high school students from St Dunstan’s College is a treat for your ears. Offering styles ranging from the classics, musical covers, jazz to folk, this group will have you tapping your foot throughout. Their multi-faceted programme is sure to keep the whole family entertained. MM

State Fracture
Sequel to Pay Back the Curry, this is a hard-hitting and incredibly well-performed satirical comedy, sparing nobody from Zupta to Zille. You’ll be glued to the edge of your seat. There’s so much talent here – superb acting and a phenomenal script make it fully deserving of its standing ovation. LG

Sunrise Poetry Sessions
Featuring bold, commanding performances and a charismatic MC, this showcase of up-and-coming talent uses multilingual poetry as a vehicle to engage with and embrace life as a young, black South African. The poets’ fearless, no holds barred approach to personal and community issues will resonate powerfully with its audience. EL

Syria?
A provocative story of school friendship between a British-Pakistani boy, Waleef, and a South African coloured girl, Lauren. Their friendship is complicated by society’s bigotry towards Muslims. This is a story about the previously oppressed who, due to forgetting what it feels like to be oppressed, subconsciously oppress others. It’s a call to society to reflect on the daily injustices faced by Muslims. TS

Tableaux in Red: Oil on Canvas, 1976
A new and thoughtful way to excavate our painful history that continues to haunt us today. Using art to come to terms with this trauma results in the emergence of a series of symbolically moving, and sometimes horrifying, images. Despite the difficult subject matter, this play is simply staged and never melodramatic. CH

Taking Flight
A talented cast of five bring the magic of Roald Dahl’s novels to life. The lively performance appeals to both children and adults by taking the audience on a riveting journey. The interesting use of props, space and sound contribute to a “scrumdidlyumptious performance.” LM

Tats Nkonzo is Privileged
A well-written, educational and hilarious stand-up comedy which explores how everyone is privileged in some way regardless of race. Nkonzo argues that citizens should make the first steps in trying to put an end to racism by interacting and letting each other know our struggles, no matter how awkward it may get. TC

Tau
A male-only cast deliver a powerful performance about brotherhood, manliness and strength. Tau is a coming of age tale, focused on the Sesotho culture and its practices. Tau must learn to navigate between his own beliefs and those of the elders. Filled with twists and turns, it is a must watch. MM

The Acoustic Me
A unique female-dominated band with undeniable talent, original pieces and an engaging style. Enjoyable, toe-tapping stuff. This venue was way too small to accommodate their big, enveloping sound. These ladies deserve a much bigger stage! Beautiful music. LK

The Bicycle Man
Directed by a Grahamstonian and set in Grahamstown, the film is an insightful look at disease, stigma and masculinity. It chronicles the challenges faced by a family dealing with an unexpected crisis, and how they overcome their difficulties together. It is a unique take on family relationships and the journey from child to man. RC

The Book Detectives
Two Afrikaans detectives dwell on fictional crimes in our favourite fairy tales. Despite their inability to speak English properly, they share their accounts of the various cases that they have worked on. The performance is very creative as they unfold what really happened in the world of imagination. RB

The Brothers Streep: Same Streep Different Day
This guitar duo performed by two blood brothers deal with various issues in South Africa whilst making use of audience participation. It also deals with childhood and the reality of growing up. Their rhythmic musical talent mixed with their wit will definitely give you a laugh. RB

The Calabash Children
The Calabash Children is a charming story of a lonely widow who is given children when a mountain spirit transforms her calabashes. Featuring a young and energetic cast, this retelling of a folktale from the Chaga people of Tanzania is full of music, dance and colourful costumes; and is fun for the whole family. SY

The Chameleon
In The Chameleon, the main character is presenting a monologue about his emotional life. After having to deal with his guilt, he is starting to become crazy. The actor interacts with the audience, raising philosophical and moral questions about forgiving and forgetting. Meanwhile, he is blaming God and criticises the role of religion as a way to show how he tries to blame others for his mistakes. AD

The Citizen
This powerful and emotional piece of student theatre illustrates the struggles which Black womxn face in South Africa today. Through their multilingual, eloquent and evocative performances, the cast gives a moving account of their lived experiences that is unapologetically Black and unapologetically feminist. The Citizen contains reference to potentially triggering issues. SY

The Creed
A spiritually-moving experience presented by four suave, talented musicians. Their voices complemented each other and delivered an enchanting performance to the captivated audience at their first ever NAF performance. Tomorrow is their last show and I will be going back. Join me there! JDK

The Dark Ages
A great performance from Tyson Ngubeni who once again brings us his unique and insightful take on being South African in a country that doesn’t always recognise its own. He shares his perspective on xenophobia, melanin and being too dark for his own good. He is really too good! LK

The Devil’s Advocate
A kick-ass comedy from accomplished female comedian Angel Campey. This one-woman show is a humoristic slice of life in the new South Africa. The Devil’s Advocate skit wasn’t totally convincing, but Campey held her own onstage and ensured that this was a gutsy and thoroughly enjoyable show. WK

The Devil & Billy Markham
James Cairns plays a tormented song writer who makes a risky deal with the devil. The excellent use of lighting and the masterful play on words showcases the seamless transition between the four main characters. There is an unexpected twist highlighting the battle between good and evil, and an inevitable harsh reality. TVO

The Full Morty
The humour may be a little obvious at times with a few too many jokes about men and sex, but Morty is charming and talented. You will definitely have an enjoyable time with some sweet dance moves, song numbers and great impressions. CH

The Father
Adolf and Laura, a couple married for twenty years, are presented in this play as a dynamic couple that are flawed in more ways than one. The plot is concerned with Adolf’s paternity, and in some parts offers comic relief, but ends in tragedy. The outstanding performances successfully entertain the audience. WV

The Image
In The Image, three actors potray a family suffering from loss. With the actor’s brilliant body language the play is easy to understand, and the audience is able to feel the deep emotions. Between the boundless willingness to sacrifice and the desperate search for love, it leads the audience into the struggle of a family dealing with domestic violence. AD

The Kaffirs
The end of the show was stamped by a standing ovation, duly given for the excellent execution of characters who delivered humorous scenes that left the audience in stitches. Spectacular scenes induced members of the audience to tears. This production is an excellent portrayal of a simply broken family. NM

The Little One
The cast gives a powerful and moving performance about abandonment and resilience. Set in the tough streets of Durban, homeless kids need to navigate their way through every struggle they face. From betrayal from their families to the daily battle with poverty, this play gives an authentic portrayal of the lives of these youngsters. MM

The Melting Pot
In The Melting Pot, an adopted orphan is searching for his origins. The plot is well-implemented by the talented actors, and it scratches the surface of a diversity of current South African problems. It is entertaining and stimulates the thoughts. AD

The Secret Garden
A lovely story portrayed through dance. Accompanied by some wonderful creatures, great and small, the orphaned Mary finds the key that opens the door to hidden beauty, forgotten love and renewed strength. A spectacular showcase of Grahamstown’s finest amateur dancers. Beautiful costumes and an impressive array of local talent. LG

The Truth Beneath
The cast shares a story of a family coming to grips with the past and it’s interception with the present and the consequences there-in. Audience must be bilingual. KB

Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)
Delivered as a series of erratic yet evocative vignettes, this performance is an investigation into the eccentricities of being human. The performer’s self-deprecating humour lends vulnerability to a collection of rambling meditations. Taking the loss of love and innocence as its main themes, this lyrical monologue will engage, discomfort and challenge. EL

Momentum
A high energy, fast-paced, passionate and emotive combination of modern dancing and ballet. The dancers are superbly talented, versatile and incredibly energetic. Beautiful costumes, powerful choreography and music. Fun, polished, and full of momentum, this show is a slick and professional. LT

The Mother of All Eating
Mr Modise explains the South African world of kickbacks and government corruption with a tirade that is part guilty confession and part prideful boast. He is despicable, and yet so charming you can’t help but laugh along and champion even his worst exploits. Written by Zakes Mda, this is a murky mix of humour and devastating honesty. CH

The Nose
A captivating musical with a playful tone, which may have your nostrils flaring with all its intellectually humorous word-plays. The story delivers a moral message for children, teaching them not to laugh at others, but to instead be sympathetic and understanding. AR

The Path of Destination
A passionate performance by four talented actors, highlighting the heartbreaking discrimination experienced by albinos due to the colour of their skin. This show follows the life of an albino woman who rose above brutal discriminatory abuse and became a medical doctor, later returning to her community to help them. EM

The Phil Spectrum
A thoroughly enjoyable one-man show presented by Phil de Lange. He brings a refreshing and youthful hipsters’ perspective on life. The performer uses a ukulele and presents songs and impressions that are current and entertaining. I especially enjoyed his language translations, which were hilarious. WK

The Plothole
Two arrogant comedians star in the DVD extra material of their film. They discuss the movie which has to do with the plotholes in the various fairy tales. Their creativity and insight into the stories is credible. There is a continuous use of props which gives the production flavour. RB

The Puppet Guy
An excellent selection of real comedic entertainment with clever, engaging characters and hilarious audience interaction throughout. Conrad’s PG content is excellent adult fare with political and social commentary as well as an appearance or two from one of our favourites, Chester Missing. With standing ovations, this one is well worth it! LK

The Singing Chameleon
This performance is a charming dramatisation of the folk tale, performed with energy and passion. Vivid characters and catchy songs make this show a treat for the whole family, while at the same time delivering an important message about acceptance and courage. Delightfully funny and undeniably creative. MRW

The Sisters Ugly
Dianne Simpson delivers a very different take on the fairy tale we have all grown up with. Her performance was strong, captivating and gave the audience food for thought. The musical renditions were appropriate and aided the audience in understanding this ugly sister’s plight. TVO

The Spirit of Shakespeare in Africa
Haunting, thought-provoking and profound. Masterfully written, brilliantly executed and soulfully directed. Music and acting brought together in a simplistic punch to the gut that leaves you breathless. An intimate account of a young man’s journey to self-acceptance. MRW

The Witch (Umthakathi)
This dance performance showcases a variety of Zulu cultural dances. It also narrates the history of the formation of tribes in Southern Africa. The performance is suitable for all ages and appeals to an audience interested in traditional dance. WM

Themba’s Dream
A fun filled and spectacular musical production by the Masifunde Youth Choir. Set against the backdrop of a township suffering from a myriad of social problems, this performance follows Themba, a character who dreams of one day becoming a pilot. The production deserved the standing ovation that it got. WM

Thingphony – a Symphony of Things
An unequivocally brilliant performance! Ingenious, witty, thought-provoking and daring, this show is smooth, well-thought out and captures the audience’s attention from the first minute. An extraordinarily talented pianist, comedian and story-teller, Southey combines quantum physics and tantric philosophy masterfully while exploring “Things”. The standing ovation it got says it all! LT

Trafficked
An intriguing blend of improvisation and education, Trafficked sheds light on the abuse that many women are subjected to daily. It tackles the sensitive issue of human trafficking in a family-friendly way that does not water down its seriousness. Since the play raises a relevant topic, it would not be a mistake to bring the whole family. NN

Trinity Tenors
A celebration of the tenor voice. Sacred and secular songs, including some show favourites, are sung by two tenors and sensitively accompanied on the piano. The duets brought on bouts of goose bumps; music lovers will appreciate the varied and romantic repertoire. MRW

Umle
A great duo combination that mostly unpacks all aspects of romantic relationships (including pursuit) in a humour-filled manner. With one playing guitar, this duo is very much in sync throughout the performance. They come across as having mastered the art of discreet stage and song communication. NM

Undermined
A wonderful dance interpretation of a recognizable African story. Humour and camaraderie weave this story into a flowing and soulful story. Accompanied by wonderful music, brilliant acting and clever use of lights, this is African storytelling at its best. LT

Unnecessary
A hilarious atmosphere was created by Prins in this comic show. He talked about some real life issues, including the unemployment young people face despite having education. The comedian talked about how stereotyping cannot necessarily be a bad thing in all instances. These issues among others were explained in a comedic way which could by no means lead to hard feelings. TC

Urban Village Music
A very unique, entertaining and powerful performance by a group of four musicians. A variety of musical instruments is used to create a powerful, African-inspired jazz performance which anyone can enjoy. A show comprising of original songs as well as a few covers that got the audience to get to their feet and dance. TC

Wacky Wizard Comedy Magic Show
A show that is a truckload of fun for the whole family. We explore the wizarding world of magic and tricks with a side of humour that is sure to have the masses in stitches. The performance engages with the audience regularly, so one is sure to have a fantastic time. JC

We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants
The performance consists of seven cleverly devised short stories surrounding the seven deadly sins. The framework was provocative and humorous, with refreshingly contemporary illustrations used as a means to express the imagery provoked. The stage personalities were captivating and executed the entire performance with a rightfully placed confidence. AR

We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants
Exuberant, boisterous and thought-provoking. A mixture of innovative storytelling techniques and superb acting by lead Jemma Kahn and her sidekick Roberto Pombo left the rowdy crowd at the edge of their seats. Was I entertained? Thoroughly! And is that not what theatre is all about? Nicolette van Schalkwyk

Welcome to the Zoo
This play explores relationship dynamics and rape culture, and draws on the #RUreferencelist protests. It tells the stories of women who’ve been assaulted, mentioning Reeva Steenkamp and Anene Booysen amongst others. It questions what we as a society are going to do about rape culture, patriarchy, sexism and domestic violence. SB

What the Dickens!
The little B2 Arena was packed to listen to a masterful, dramatic reading of selections from the novels of Dickens by two mellifluous actor/scholars. As one who made much of his living by reading his works to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, the versatile Dickens would be delighted to hear his work so beautifully presented. A real treat! MW

Where the Science Meets the Arts
A one-person physical theatre piece that intrigues with dynamic, unusual moves. It stretches the imagination, showing how a young child discovers a passion for science. It’s creative, but I am unsure whether it succeeds in its mission of combining the sciences and the arts together. Surprisingly short so that audience was unsure when it came to an abrupt end. SL

Whistle Stop
This detailed description of an awkward encounter between two strangers takes us though their initial lust and sexual tension. Moves onto the complexity of human relationships and the uncertainty of the future. This fast-paced physical drama is well worth watching, especially as it will not be back next year. JDK

Who Are You?
This dance production is a spectacular piece that questions the purpose of identity. Performed by six racially diverse dancers, it conveys the discrepancy between each person and how some identities can be overshadowed by others. The performance is full of energy and the choreography is quite abstract, but the combination of the two create an enjoyable performance. WM

Women’s Tears
A talented cast throws into sharp relief the Marikana Massacre and its aftermath. Through the use of brilliant and evocative monologues, the mothers, wives and daughters of the murdered miners search for justice. The masculine energy of the strikes is offset by the strength of the women, who must now carry the torch. A moving performance. GK

Woza Albert
Through astounding use of physical theatre, two actors portray many unique and emotive characters. The audience loved every minute of this energetic, satirical piece that examined what would happen if Morena came to South Africa. Iconic South African theatre at its best, Woza Albert absolutely deserved its standing ovation. JT

Yes, Today I’m A Man 
A sublime and vibrant performance that immerses the audience in the Xhosa tradition. The focus is largely on how boys become men, but this performance has so much more to offer through the music and traditional Xhosa dances. This is a performance that is suitable for all audiences and is sure to entertain. WM

You Know What?
This show portrays the life of Bra Jack as he tries to keep his marriage together with his unfaithful wife, even though Bra Jack has himself been unfaithful in the past. It touches on issues of marriage not often talked about. A very good storyline with a lukewarm, distasteful and unnecessarily long execution. LN

You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths
Hilarious perspective of life told by a girl in grade nine. Has great advice and is very relatable to the teenagers of today, what they value as important and what they will do to get there. Beautifully written. MS

Young Now Really
A very current and pertinent topic is addressed. Characters are portrayed as experiencing the “reality” of social media interactions from the narcissistic engagement of people with their own profiles to the bullying of young people that exists on various platforms. A little slow but highly relevant in today’s society. LT

Zenith
A creative, dramatic piece that explores how every person has a past that they are all healing from. Great use of props. Exciting and intriguing. MS

Zenti from L.A
This was Zenti’s first ever performance. Mediocre, with a few good laughs from his off the cuff stuff. This might be good for future focus. LG

Reviewers:

INITIAL NAME
AB Agnese Bastide
AD Agnes Dietrich
AK Andrew Keeton
AR Aimélée Richter
CH Cordelia Hunt
CO Christine Offerman
EK Evert Knoesen
EL Emma Kate Laubscher
EM Emma Jeanne Martin
GK Gina Kukard
JC Jordan Chiyoka
JDK Jackie De Klerk
JT Jaudz Taylor
KB Kaira Bray
KM2 Kholeka Majola
LG Lisl Griffioen
LK Lee-Anne Knowles
LM Luale Monze
LN Lungile Ngubane
LT Leaza Tobias
MC Michelle Coupe
MM Mahlatse Moloto
MN Mbali Ngcweleshe
MRW Michael Robin Wynne
MS Megan Starbuck
MW Michael Whisson
NM Nombasa Maqoko
NN N Nkosi
RB Royce Beaton
RC Roza Carvalho
SB Siphosethu Balakisi
SL Steven Lang
SM Sibulele Moyakhe
SY Sarah Yates
TC Tatenda Chakabuda
TS Thoko Sipungu
TVO Tanya Van Onselen
WK Wendy King
WM Wynona Mutisi
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