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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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Stella, Blanche and Stanley are flawed, fragile and fumbling. The play reveals their vulnerabilities, tragic mistakes and doomed dreams, and the devastating consequences that follow when one chooses to ride ‘a streetcar named desire.’

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Edges is a contemporary take on the classic “coming of age” storyline, covering the usual suspects: romance, finding a purpose in life and Facebook. It is a soundtrack to those feelings you can’t express and those thoughts you can’t vocalise.

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Premium distinguished brandy has conventionally been confined to old men in suits, locked away in ivory tower brandy and cigar lounges. What Fine Brandy. By Design aims for with these events is to steer premium brandy away from its traditional pomposity and give it a fresher, more cosmopolitan edge and image.

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As is the case with many productions one character completely outshone the rest. Michele Maxwell did just that in Hitched. This seasoned actress with a remarkable resemblance to Joan Collins portrayed Joanie, an actress of a certain age and friend and mentor to Iris. Maxwell was quite simply stunning in the role.

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In a performance that was so pitch-perfect that it could have been a CD, The Kooks outdid any expectations that I had. Highlights of their set were most definitely the acoustic version of the sweet ‘Seaside’, the audience going crazy during ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ and the massive singalong during encore song ‘Shine On’.

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It takes exceptionally gifted actors to capture and deliver all the elements embedded in this epic love affair, and to portray them convincingly with such acuity and flair.

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On a minimalist set, Uys takes the audience through a side-splitting yet thought-provoking tour of our turbulent timeline. He agilely somersaults through the spectrum of the aged architects of Apartheid with satire that exceeds mere stereotype.

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Festival headliner Caiphus Semenya kept the spirit up and even got the crowd to sing a verse perfectly – even though some of us didn’t understand a word. But the performance highlight from this leading South African composer, musician and singer was a jam with his guitarist. An exchange of enthralling guitar riffs and vibrant vocals made for a catchy sound and a packed City Hall went nuts.

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It’s no wonder WWE fans in the States are addicted to pay-per-view. A packed arena, a WWE Smackdown ring, bright lights, thundering music and WWE Superstars walking out from backstage, a mixture of the modern gladiator and a fair amount of soap opera melodrama.

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I’ve seen launches of second albums in this very venue that did not draw such a packed crowd. Highlights were the beautiful new single ‘Daydream’ and a song penned by drummer Josh Klynsmith, ‘Don’t Let Me Go’.

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Naturally one cannot take a glass of whisky out of the festival, but you can hardly down a glassful either. The door guard’s solution? Go to the toilet and throw it down the sink. It somehow took the glamour out of the occasion. To recap: go early, sign in for all the cool events, and don’t leave with a single drop in your glass. And if all else fails hand over all you coupons for Mr Blue…

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Created by the legendary Hugh Masekela who also stars in the show, songs of Migration tells the stories of migrant workers who left their homes and their loved ones to work in the mines in Johannesburg and other mineral rich towns of South Africa.

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Cape Town is cooking and my otherwise pale and blotchy legs are now complemented by orange streaks of fake tan. In this regard, I remain resolutely British. True Capetonians blossom in the summer. Endless lithe and perfectly bronzed bodies roam about, relaxed and laughing. Even their hair remains shiny and tangle-free whereas mine sticks out in small frizzy clumps where I’ve repeatedly got it caught in my sunglasses. [Read more…]

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Initially I felt almost guilty at Breyani. I felt a bit like a peeping tom looking in on a jam session. Then David Kramer walked on stage with his big smile and his trademark hat and I immediately felt welcome…

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In nature, wind is a great factor in seed sowing. It’s a little more troublesome when the Sowing the Seeds in question is a music festival. And not just any festival but the taster for the first big annual festival of the summer-to-come, Rocking the Daisies.

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As a kid at the circus with my dad and my brother, I remember the feeling of being a little person in a big world of all things magical. This Easter weekend I found myself asking whether it would be possible to rekindle that feeling of magic as I headed back to the circus, this time as a grown up.

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Peachy Keen took the stage to a packed Mercury and immediately had the crowd dancing to a series of pop-esque rockabilly jams from their new album, Backseat Bingo.

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By the time the suspects start sweating under the heavy lights of the interrogation room, the plot of Tannie Dora Goes Bos will strongly remind one of the works of Agatha Christie. Many may also recognise the influence of Quentin Tarantino, particularly his Kill Bill films. But that is all it ever remains, an influence. It never dictates the tone nor imitates the style. Above all, this play is distinctly South African.

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Schmid draws on his personal experiences living in South Africa with hilarious results. While not every joke is side-splitting, many are the kind that worm their way into your memory, eliciting smiles weeks later. I’ll certainly never look at a seal in the same way again.

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It’s all about equality and standing one’s ground, pitting female against male, to challenge one another and test the waters. At one particular point the male dancers lie in a straight line and then the female dancers purposefully run towards them and launch into a breathtaking leap before being miraculously caught. This is undoubtedly the highlight of the whole show, as the gasps in the audience will attest.

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The late afternoon sun gleams over the Atlantic Ocean with the Twelve Apostles looming majestically over the waves. Throw in some good old Mother City breeze, a terraced lawn shaded by pomegranate trees, the right time of day, and you get the perfect sundowner venue.

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The band took us back to songs that started their walk to fame just a few short years ago, an also threw in some new material. There is a distinct Brazilian influence in some of their songs, no doubt a product of Jsomething’s Portuguese heritage. But even as the hips sway to the salsa beat, the feet want to stomp to the undercurrent of African rhythm.

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Do not be fooled by the title – there is nothing festive about Playland. It is raw, dark and disturbing. And it is also possibly some of the best and most unsettling acting I’ve seen in a while, especially from Albert Pretorius. His Gideon is a vision of a how war can break a man beyond repair, of a tortured soul trapped in purgatory.

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The moment his bow and strings collided it was if darkness had engulfed all else but him. It was Mintz and his violin. Everyone else centered their all on Mintz, as Kuchar and the CPO moulded and sculpted a rich, voluptuous soundscape for him to dance his chords about in. What a wonderful feeling to see this man on our stage. The places he must have seen, the people he must have accompanied, and he was there, on our Cape Town stage. The CPO glowed with the honour at playing beside such a legend, and performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.64 with grace, verve and an undying love for the purity of orchestral sound.

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Pants on Fire is not your average stand-up comedy show. It’s a bit like a live 3D TV show in your front room. A constant dialogue passes back and forth between the two hosts and they continually include the audience. There are no pretences, no expectations – just the feeling of community and fun.

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