So far I have seen three shows at the Arts Festival. And all three have been worth seeing.
BREED : A play written and directed by Brink Scholtz, for the Ubom Theatre Company and featuring Andrew Buckland. The advert in the programme was rather vague – “a darkly comic tale” does not tell you much. But Ubom is usually good, and both Brink and Andrew Buckland are pretty much guarantees of a good show. So this seemed a good show to start off my festival.
It was a wonderful play. I was impressed by the script and the performances, with each actor captivating the audience. It is indeed a darkly comic tale, showing the intersections between a man, his daughter, a group of squatters and a hapless delivery man. All bound together by a vicious dog, whose unseen presence imbued the play with an atmosphere of barely suppressed fear and potential violence. I have recommended this play to several people, and those who have gone to see it agreed it was brilliant.
NO FAT JOKES was a bit lighter in tone. I was attracted by the title alone, even before reading the blurb. Written and directed by Roshnee Guptar, it rails against the conspiracy of the skinny people, as they wage war against fat people. It will make you laugh, it will make you smile (in discomfort or recognition, depending on which side of the battle line you fall). It will make you want to eat a donut. Zanne Solomon gives a strong performance . I look forward to seeing her in her other show, Shaggy.
GOOSEBUMP MADRIGALS AND MORE – The Boulevard Harmonists are an a capella ensemble, made up of students at the University of the North-West in Potchefstroom. While the members might change over the years, the group is a regular at the festival, and is always worth listening to. This year was no exception. The first half of the show featured 16th century madrigals, performed to full effect in the Rhodes Chapel. The second half was equally beautiful, but with slightly more contemporary music, including a crowd-pleasing rendition of “The Bare Necessities”, from the film The Jungle Book. The young singers are highly accomplished and it was a delightful end to the first day of festival.