The National Arts Festival pretty much reflects the theatre scene as a whole. There is still not enough black theatre, and there are not enough black audience members. It’s largely a matter of economics but it’s also related to artistic will.
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Director Jenine Collocott’s play is based on the classic novella by Paul Gallico, a story about a crippled man who comes to live on the southeast coast of England during World War II, and who saves the life of an injured goose. It is also a story of enormous individual heroism, the ability to be different in a hostile world, and the redeeming power of courage.
Three Blind Mice, Rob van Vuuren’s flagship play, opened to a full house at the Rhodes Theatre on Monday night. The show is one of the 2015 Festival’s most anticipated productions, with every show selling out.
Power duo James Cairns and Taryn Bennett star alongside Brendan Grealy in this production of the Ernest Hemingway classic, The Old Man and The Sea. The story recounts the perils of a fisherman Santiago (Grealy) on his voyage to break 84 days without a catch. His young, keen apprentice Manolin (Bennett) is forbidden by his parents to accompany Santiago, whose luck they believe has run out.
It’s no surprise I’m hearing influential voices proclaiming El Blanco as one of the highlights of the Festival. A courageous solo performance by James Cairns, the high-energy hour of stories and song runs the audience through the full range of emotions.
You might dismiss the children’s story of The Three Little Pigs as a benign parable told to children about making solid plans for rainy days – or for days when wolves abound. James Cairns, Rob van Vuuren and Albert Pretorius, under the direction of Tara Notcutt, brilliantly disabuse you of that from the outset of this innovative and fierce play. Don’t bring the littlies – this is no fairy tale.
James Cairns plays four guys in Dirt: the nerdy Wayne; down-to-earth Grant, a new father, and the sex-driven Sam, all linked by one central person, Jerry. Oh yes, and a dog.
A masterful one-man comedy from the multi-talented James Cairns. Through the clever use of props and music Cairns manages to weave a number of caricatured characters into a story with side-splitting results. A must see show! TB
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