All about the 2018 Hilton Arts Festival

THE big entertainment event of the week is, of course, the Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College, where the many varied attractions will include theatre, music, dance, art, children’s entertainment and a diversity of crafts.

Big Boys The Third, Reloaded, Rebooted and Re-Invented is among fun entertainment bets. This has dancing brothers Ash and Brad Searle (picture above by Harry Lock) back with an energetic, feel-good piece that proves real mean dance, some with absurd antics.

Also among festival choices is Comedy’s Cool, featuring Rob van Vuuren, Jem Atkins and Kelvin Stoffels in a stand-up comedy about the trials and tribulations of growing up, finding your place, and doing what you love in this crazy world.

Then there’s Green Man Flashing, an international, award-winning production by South African playwright Mike van Graan. This fast-paced political thriller, written in a filmic style, stars Litha Bam, Michelle Douglas, Kate Liquorish, Sechaba Morojele and David Dennis.

Clowning techniques

Silkworm is a story told through the eyes of Georgina, a gregarious and socially awkward child. The show makes extensive use of storytelling and clowning techniques and tells of how little things are often big things.

The must-see Suddenly the Storm, written by and starring multiple-award-winning playwright Paul Slabolepszy, starts as a smouldering, dark comedy then turns into a rollercoaster ride of startling revelations, rages and recriminations. It also features Charmaine Weir-Smith and Renate Stuurman.

Coming-of-age story

Limited tickets are still available for Die Reuk van Appels. After sold-out performances at the 2017 National Arts Festival and The Fugard Theatre, this coming-of-age story finally comes to Hilton.

The stage adaption of the acclaimed 1993 debut novel by Mark Behr eloquently captures the Afrikaner mentality in the late 1970s and 1980s and the brutal consequences of apartheid and militarisation of South African life.

Hocus Pocus is a show filled with mysteries and tricks. This piece of pure entertainment is performed by Brendon Peel and will appeal to all those who enjoy magic and illusion. Catch it at Hilton College at 8.30pm on Friday (September 14) and 6pm on Saturday (September 15). My full review of the show is available by clicking here

James Cairns vs Humanity is improvisation theatre at its best. This is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialect are made up in the moment, so no show is ever the same. In essence, it is Cairns versus his audience… only one of them walks out alive.

Another good festival bet is Narrative Dreams, a play that explores the nature of childhood, a stage in life often described as utopian. Two boys from different worlds puzzle their way through the tumultuous, playful years of childhood life in search of friendship and acceptance.

For more details about the festival line-up phone 033 383 0126 / 7 or see the full programme at www.hiltonfestival.co.za.

Peter Engblom with a section of the Community Murals Project to be seen at Durban’s Phansi Museum in Glenwood until September 21. Picture by Niamh Walsh-Vorster.

Meanwhile, in celebration of Heritage Month, Durban’s Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, is hosting The Community Murals Project until September 21.

This has history remembered through an eight-panel visual project by resident artist, Peter Engblom, who created the collages in the Roberts House Cowshed adjoining the museum.

“A remarkable figure in the art world of our province was Terry Anne Stevenson, the friend and confidant of so many grassroots artists. Through their murals her group, together with the people who often illegally occupied public spaces, reclaimed them all over the province,” says a gallery spokesman.

Community Mural attacks

“Who can forget the Human Rights murals on the Durban Prison wall – all three layers of them. The Bat Centre murals, the grand and giving Umkubulwana at Berea station and the Market. No wall was safe in those early days of democracy.

“No school, no railway station, no under- or overpass, or lonely wall could withstand a Community Murals attack. Many individuals branched out and became remarkable artists in their own right.

“Terry Anne, through her relationship with the African Art Centre, Rorke’s Drift and quite a number of informal and formal art collectives, became the conduit through which many township, rural and urban artists entered the public space.

“In her memory and all those who worked with her, the trustees decided to embark on a legacy project that will be of long-lasting value. It follows the arts in KZN from the days, about 200 years ago, when records were first kept.”

KZN Midlands news, click here

The plan is to tell this history around a number of nodes with which people are familiar. The influence of the missions; training of techniques and concepts of western art and religion in places like Ceza, Rourke’s Drift and Mariannhill; Ndaleni; the celebration of indigenous art during the Grossert years; Adams Mission and the importance of the African Art Centre, the Community Art Project and the BAT Centre.

“From these we branch out and follow leads in all directions. All is placed against a backdrop of the politics and social engineering at the time.”

Oscar Swanlund presents a Bob Dylan tribute in Westville on Sunday, September 16.

On to music news… Westville and Hillcrest are to be treated to a show saluting six decades of the music and memories of folk protest poet and singer Bob Dylan when local singer-guitarist Oscar Swanlund presents The Times They Are a-Changing.

Dylan, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, has been performing on acoustic guitar and harmonica for 60 years, first picking up his guitar in 1959. Back then he was still known as Robert Zimmerman and performed his first major gig in New York, opening for blues artist John Lee Hooker in Greenwich Village.

It would be three years later before he recorded as Bob Dylan, his debut studio album having been released on March 19, 1962 by Columbia Records.

Durban-born singer-musician Swanlund, formerly of Port Shepstone, first presented his Dylan tribute show in Pietermaritzburg in August, and is scheduled to perform it again at Musketeers at Westville’s German Club at 4pm on Sunday, September 16. Tickets (R60) are available at the door on the day, when full restaurant and bar facilities will be available.

Also catch the show at Le Domaine, Bon Chance restaurant, Hillcrest, at 6pm on Friday, November 23. Tickets (R60) are available at the door on the day, when full restaurant and bar facilities will be available.

The show features all the Dylan biggies, among them Mr Tambourine Man, Lay Lady Lay, Blowing in the Wind, The Times They are a-changin, Mr Bojangles, Don’t Think Twice and Jokerman.

KZN Midlands events

Newcastle-born singer Ayanda Thango entertains at Durban’s Jazzy Rainbow from 7pm on Friday, September 14.

Meanwhile, also of note is that singer Ayanda Thango, originally from Newcastle, is in line to perform at Durban’s Jazzy Rainbow, 93 Smiso Nkwanyana Road (formerly Goble Road), from 7pm on Friday, September 14.

The entry fee is R50 and tickets, available at the door, include a free drink for students. Phone 031 303 8398 to book.

Thango will be accompanied at the Jazzy Rainbow by Sanele Phakathi on piano, Thabo Sikhakhane on trumpet, Dalisu Ndlazi on bass, Sbu Zondi on drums, Salim Washington on tenor sax and Bethuel Tshoane on guitar.

Concerts SA Circuit

This performance forms part of the Concerts SA Venue Circuit which aims to foster a love and support for live music in our communities, as well as anchor small and medium-sized venues in urban and rural KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Thango was part of various choirs from primary school through high school, which made her realise and value her gift and appreciation of music.

She has been part of small groups and big bands, and has worked with world-renowned conductors. She was also part of the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir which toured the United Kingdom and took first place at the World Eisteddfod in Llangohlen, Wales.

Having received classical voice training throughout high school, Thango decided to enrol for the jazz programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she has since shared the stage with the likes of Mbongeni Ngema, Salim Washington, Amanda Tiffin and Zenzi Makeba.

PMB news: Audition for children’s choir

Still in Durban, a reminder that the 26th annual Shall We Dance is packing them in at the Playhouse Opera theatre in the city centre, where the dance spectacle continues until September 16.

This extravaganza, once again produced and directed by Neville Letard and Caryl Cusens, features more than 100 performers. It showcases various dance companies and dance styles including Ballroom, Latin American, belly-dancing, Bollywood, ballet and just about everything else in between.

The featured couples this year include Danish dancer Nikolaj Lund and Polish dancer Marta Kocik performing Ballroom and Latin. They have dance titles from Denmark, throughout Europe and Japan, and will be making their first appearance at Shall We Dance and in South Africa.

Back again this year is Durban dance duo Statik, which will perform high-energy, tightly choreographed routines. The team comprises Selwyn Rautenbach and Clinton Green, who have been dancing together since 1995. Their routine fits somewhere between Michael Jackson and hip-hop and breaks conventional dance style boundaries.

For my full review of this year’s show, featuring Damon Beard as MC, click here

Movies new in cinemas countrywide this weekend include The Predator, teaming Boyd Holbrook and Jacob Tremblay under the direction of Shane Black.

The fantasy spectacle tells of a young boy who, when he accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, notes that only a ragtag crew of former soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

SHOWBIZ TRIVIA: DO YOU KNOW?
The 1977 film version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music, starring Elizabeth Taylor, was set in Austria. However, in what country was the original stage version set? (Answer next week).

Last week’s question was: Goldie Hawn received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her debut movie role in 1970’s Cactus Flower, but was only nominated once more for an Oscar, in 1981, in the Best Actress category. For what film? (Answer: Private Benjamin).