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Angela Kilian as Norma Desmond is phenomenal, with a brittle sensuality that oozes pain, desperation and madness. Her powerful voice is beautiful yet razor sharp, and her every gesture commands the stage in a way that makes it poignantly clear why Norma Desmond was such a great star of the silent movies

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Her eyes glistened with passion and the purity of her voice, spoken and sung, sent an awed hush across the audience, adding even more to the sacred scenes in the Abbey. In closing Act One with ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, the crucifix around her neck caught the light in the most unintentional of ways, and danced about reflecting the spellbound expressions of the entire Opera House audience.

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Glasshouse has created a grooming emporium with overtones of a gentlemen’s club. Hot cappuccinos, cold beers and refined whisky can be enjoyed whilst watching the rugby – as a therapist skillfully attends to your toes.
The décor successfully reflects the ethos behind Glasshouse: masculine, comfortable, contemporary and suitably slick, yet not intimidating.

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The wires are purely a technological bridge to an aural end, linked to speakers which deliver a unique sound loop that suddenly elevates the entire setting into a compulsive pilgrimage into an audio-driven world of memory and of delight.

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Mesmerizing and beautifully lit group images are created in which bodies are tangled and only extremities like arms and legs are visible. Elaborate partner work sees dancers shift one another’s weight and pull each other on and off balance.

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And this is exactly why Tuning the Vine is the perfect kind of wine festival for philistines. A new festival on the annual Cape Town calendar, it has a distinct agenda: to remove the perceived snobbery and make wine tasting, wine drinking, and wine making fun and accessible. It does it well.

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Award-winning playwright, Louis Viljoen, has constructed a high-brow psycho drama with harrowing insights that will make you despise the human condition. The sophistication continues throughout the play in the opposition between the idea of something and the reality of it, between what something is on the surface and what it is beneath, between the past and the present. The play is a brilliant confrontation with the darkness of our psych.

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If you’re getting to the “been there, done that” stage of boozy weekend festivaling, then Spiritfest may just be the breath of fresh nicotine-free air that you’ve been looking for.

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A golden thread of references to old Python sketches runs throughout the evening, which is thick with dramatic wordplay, cross-dressing as old ladies (and a sexy one in a too-tight dress), plenty of double entrendes and competitively bizarre gaits.

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There’s a good Friday evening buzz as Robertson stands on stage and welcomes the band – Frank Cuddumbey’s Faze4, accompanied by the glamorous Abigail Bagley. They’re everything one expects from a jazz band – professional, vibey, oh-so-cool, and between Abigail’s sultry tones and the various band members’ turns at vocals, it’s the perfect mix of voices.
And it’s not just jazz. Abigail’s rendition of ‘Girl On Fire’ brought tears to my eyes

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In the darkness of load-shedding, the third edition of Artmode once again proved a unique group exhibition which allows the visitor to explore various modes of art while meeting its creators, and watch as they bring their work into being. It’s an art-lover’s dream: a chance to share in the creative process which sharpens the appreciation even for those who might not call themselves art-lovers beforehand.

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But the scene stealer of the production, without a doubt, is Alan Committie as the (non-singing) First Secretary Njegus. The self-proclaimed “thinking man’s Eminem”, Committie is not just the star of the show, he is the supernova. Explosively funny, Committie owns the stage, his character taking potshots at South African politics and current affairs, cracking witty lines and snapping with exasperation should the audience not get the jokes quick enough. Surely there has never been so much audience participation in an opera, yet I for one couldn’t get enough.

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American playwright George Brant’s Grounded is a compelling one-woman play that achieves many things, both artistically and politically. It asks imperative questions, thrills with a finely crafted narrative, and provides refreshing insights. For 80 minutes we are utterly captivated by the unnamed but passionate female US military pilot who is grounded, first by a pregnancy, and then by her participation in drone warfare. Returning to work, she finds that she has been assigned to “chairforce”, waging war from the relative comfort of a trailer in the Las Vegas desert. A woman thriving on such a fiercely male platform is already a fascinating premise, but the story delivers on Brant’s promise to pack way more into this intense monologue.

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“The great thespian invests his Paton with a wonderful mixture of tart-tongued vigour and intense dramatic concentration. It is an accomplished and enigmatic performance in an elegantly mounted production.”

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“My Fat Friend makes you cringe at the social implications, while being thoroughly entertained. It’s a simply delightful piece with fine acting.”

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“A short series of talks by clued-up industry people are each followed by a brief Q&A and a two-song set by a hand-picked original act.”

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“His delivery was full of colours, dynamic contrasts and nuances, not to mention ear-shattering vocal outbursts. He had to hang onto the banister behind the conductor’s podium for support, but he made it look as natural as placing a hand on a piano.”

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The show is divided into four parts, namely Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Cars, and Frozen. Storylines are excerpted and condensed versions of their film counterparts, with introductions by the hosts in between each tale. The exceptional detail and evident effort that went into creating each costume, prop and set design is staggering. This meticulous attention to detail and the inclusion of voiceovers from the original cast, made one feel as though they are experiencing magnified versions of their fictional heroes. Judging by the booming cheers, Cars’ Lightning McQueen and Frozen’s Olaf the Snowman were clear crowd favourites.

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The Endler Hall has arguably the best acoustical features of all concert halls in the Western Cape. It has even been acclaimed as one of the finest concert halls in the world. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Endler Prestige Concert Series has always attracted world-renowned artists.

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…but the treffer of their set was ‘Shit Happens’ a spontaneous song to keep the crowd entertained while a guitar was fixed.

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Sitting snugly in the striped cushioned seats (definitely the most comfortable in a while) and sipping on a glass of cabernet, I started thinking how well red wine and jazz go together. But, just like a good wine, jazz has to be finely crafted to be properly enjoyed.

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I’d imagined there would be more focus on healthy foods and ways to prepare invigorating and healthy meals. And I was disappointed not to see at least one miniature organic market, but maybe that’s because there’s already quite a few organic food markets at the weekends.

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The atmosphere was electric – with the audience shouting ‘hopa!’ and ‘ole!’ along with the dancers and musicians – making me feel I was at the centre of a dusty little Spanish town.

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From the first shaping of the orchestra’s sound in Maestro Bonynge’s hands to the unrestrained “bravos” at the end as we rose to our feet, the tight cast of talents carried us through a concert that will not easily be forgotten.

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A Snoop Dogg concert is not about the party. It’s about an indulgence in hip hop old and new, smoothly blended with Snoop’s distinctly velvet delivery of rap. The concert at Grand West’s Grand Arena last night was a concert about absorbing the rhythms and taking everything in.

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The Meditation from Tchaikovsky in particular had some audience members erect in their seats shouting ‘Bravo’. Charmingly. Avigail seemed completely taken aback and surprised by this display of appreciation and excitement from the audience.

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