Navigating the 255-page #NAF18 programme can be a breeze for the avid Festival goer; however, it can be a slightly unnerving task for a novice. That is why we at Cue have compiled a list of our top five shows in the Fringe programme for three popular sections: Dance, Theatre, and Physical theatre.
This year’s Festival will not disappoint, as firm favourites make their return and an array of companies and individuals bring their work to Grahamstown for the first time.
Because we don’t want you to miss anything Amaz!ng, here is a list of shows we think will be money and time well spent.
It’s officially on; Creative City has just come alive. Leggo!
Dance Spectrum, presented by The National School of the Arts (NSA), returns to the Festival with another exciting offering.
The production features different dance styles, such as: ballet, contemporary, and Spanish dance. This year NSA invites us to take a journey to exotic lands, inspired by The Nutcracker. Dance Spectrum introduces South Africa’s next generation of dancers.
Watch Dance Spectrum on 5 July at 10:00; 6 July at 18:00; 7 July at 14:00 and 21:00;
8 July at 10:00 at Centenary Hall.
DOWN TO THE MARROW
The Durban based contemporary dance company is back at Festival with riveting work. Down To The Marrow is a journey of identity and ancestral Zulu traditions.
This dance work creates a female and male space where men learn to support one another in defiance of patriarchy. Internationally recognised choreographer Lliane Loots, also the company’s founder, has put on a spectacular show for 2018.
Watch Down To The Marrow on 1 July at 10:00; 2 July at 14:30; 3 July at 18:00;
4 July at 14:00 at Centenary Hall.
The Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) brings the well-received Ellipses to Grahamstown Creative City. After a winning performance at Festival last year, Ellipses had a run at the world renowned Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town as well.
Choreographed by Debbie Turner and Nathalie Vijer, Ellipses has been described as “bringing something different” to the world of dance. There is no doubt that CAPA will bring their powerful energy to Festival once again.
Watch Ellipses on 29 June at 21:00; 30 June at 14:00 and 20:30; 1 July at 14:00; 2 July at 10:00 at Centenary Hall.
RHYTHM OF MAKHANDA
Grahamstown’s very own Via Kasi Movers Theatre Company performs high energy work at Festival this year. The piece is a mix of dance and poetry that relays the story of the battle between the amaXhosa and British soldiers.
This award-winning company is sure to deliver all the rhythm and all the entertainment.
Watch Rhythm Of Makhanda on 28 June at 20:00; 29 June at 10:00; 30 June at 13:00; 2 July at 14:00; 3 July at 16:00; 7 July at 13:00; 8 July at 12:00 at Glennie Hall and Noluthando Hall.
MOODS IN MOTION
Starlight Studios never ceases to bring chilling and thrilling work to the Festival. Choreographer Colleen Kitching has put together a performance like no other. With a cast of 26 strong female dancers, Moods In Motion is a combination of different dance styles – ranging from lyrical to contemporary to jazz.
Watch Moods In Motion on 28 June at 15:30; 29 June at 17:00; 30 June at 12:00;
1 July at 12:00 and 18:30 at Centenary Hall.
This Standard Bank Ovation Award winner returns to the Festival to tell gripping stories of ‘on call’ fire-fighters working in Johannesburg.
Under the direction of the acclaimed Kirsten Harris, the cast are sure to bring honest and moving accounts of real-life tales to the theatrical stage.
Watch Fire House on 30 June at 10:30; 1 July at 19:30; 2 July at 21:30; 4 July at 13:00; 5 July at 22:30; 6 July at 12:00 and 20:00; 8 July at 13:00 at St. Andrew’s Hall.
A cheeky, snappy and exhilarating piece is what you can look forward to in this one-woman show, performed by Kate Pinchuck. Under the direction of Dara Beth, Pinchuck brings the mythological Medusa to life and gives her some well-deserved stage time.
This revamping of Greek mythology is going to be a rollercoaster ride that you just might not to get off from.
Watch Medusa Incarnate on 28 June at 20:30; 29 June at 22:30; 30 June at 18:30;
1 July at 10:30; 2 July at 18:30; 3 July at 12:30 at Masonic Back.
Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni makes her National Arts Festival debut with a hard-hitting look of at South African all-boys private schools.
Having already shown this piece at the New Voices Festival, the show was created from different stories and testimonies of male students in elite private schools. Painfully honest; a glimpse into truths we might not all be privy to: this show is necessary.
Watch Sainthood on 28 June 19:00; 29 June 14:00; 30 June 22:30; 1 July at 17:30 at Rehearsal Room.
THE REVLON GIRL
Steven Feinstein directs the poignant true story of a group of bereaved mothers who meet every week – after the violent death of their children – to talk, cry and laugh together.
This work will invoke an intimate and honest experience in its theatrical depiction. The Revlon Girl has been to Edinburgh and London, and now features a South African cast.
Watch The Revlon Girl on 30 June at 11:00; 1 July at 16:30; 2 July at 16:30; 3 July at 18:30; 4 July at 14:00; 5 July at 16:00;
6 July at 14:30; 7 July at 12:30 and 15:00; 8 July at 10:30 at Hangar.
Lebeko Nketu is back with Dikakapa, which received a Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2017.
This is one most promising production, by the amazing Generation of Stars group. The piece explores the story of a traitor of the struggle, who is now heralded as a hero.
Watch Dikakapa on 28 June at 12:00; 29 June at 10:00; 30 June at 14:30; 1 July at 12:00;
2 July at 14:00 at NG Kerk Hall.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF REVOLUTION
This production, by Moving Assembly Project & Nelson Mandela University Department of Arts Culture and Heritage, is inspired by the love story of struggle icons Winnie and Nelson Mandela. The story complicates the power of love in tension-filled times of pain, struggle, and strife.
Watch Love In The Time Of Revolution on 4 July at 18:30; 5 July at 22:00; 6 July at 16:00 at Centenary Hall.
The creatives behind the much celebrated Father, Father. Father! are back with a new production.
Under the direction of Toni Morkel, Roberto Pombo and Joni Barnard the piece navigates a surreal and satirical casino world. Kidcasino! was well received at POPArt in Maboneng.
Watch Kidcasino! on 28 June at 20:30; 29 June at 14:30; 30 June at 18:30; 1 July at 16:30;
2 July at 18:30; 4 July at 20:30; 5 July 12:30; 6 July at 16:30 at Masonic Front.
Amard Productions brings a fresh but perfectly uncomfortable physical theatre piece to Festival this year.
With Antonio van Lendt as choreographer, this work challenges the audience’s experience of theatre and performance. With hints of Jerzy Grotowski’s influence, this work is set to be strange and beautiful all at the same time.
Watch Tangible Energy on 3 July at 14:30 and 21:30; 4 July at 18:30; 5 July 14:00 and 20:00 at PJ’s.
23 YEARS, A MONTH AND 7 DAYS
This piece engages the groundbreaking 2015 South African higher education student protests, while also exploring the struggles of womxn (sic) in social and political environments.
Produced by the National Arts Council and Magnet Theatre Educational Trust, the original cast perform under the mentorship of Magnet Theatre.
Nwabisa Plaatjie is the director.
Watch 23 Years, A Month And 7 Days on 28 June – 7 July at 10:00 at Princess Alice Hall.
YET TO BE DETERMINED
Festival favourite Gavin Krastin gives audiences Yet To Be Determined as a visual and performative meditation on irrevocable change.
The awarding winning Krastin has a unique performance art style that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Gavin Krastin has a stellar track record and is a definite must-see at this year’s Festival.
Watch Yet To Be Determined on 5, 6 and 7 July at 18:00 at Nun’s Chapel.
By Toby Ngomane
All photos provided by National Arts Festival Press offices.