I am amazed at how much Afrikaans stuff is on at the fest this year. And of course how many replays there are. Here’s Simon’s yesterday. You go, Simon!

So the weekend is over and it seems that numbers will shrink a little as the weekend festinos return home. Yesterday was cold and wet to start with and cold and clear to finish with – the Poms got thumped by the old enemy and that did penetrate the Festival.    Confirmation from house guests that the craft markets are same old, same old – “even the food stalls are in exactly the same places”.  It will be interesting to see what the traders say at the end regarding turnover figures.

Started the day with Danie Matthee’s “VRY” – not a good start.   It’s been done before and it’s been done better and quite why an Afrikaans boytjie is telling a story in Afrikaans about a Polish Jew caught up in the whole Nazi thing and how a priest [Christian nogal] is his salvation, I don’t quite get.   But it’s not the subject matter or the religious angle / preaching that the piece contains that worries me, but that it is badly performed and too long and oh so overdone.  Nuff said.

Moving on – to Lara Foot’s “KAROO MOOSE”, choreographed by Mdu Kweyama, written by Lara Foot and with music composed Bongile Montsai.     Stunningly strong performances from the 6 strong cast featuring Chuma Sopotela, Mdu Kweyama and Thami Mbongo and visual images on which to feast.       Following the story of happenings in a far away almost forgotten Karoo village and of two families in the village, the performance produced a well earned standing ovation from a very nearly full house.   The music and the movement are brilliantly executed and add to the telling of the story and indeed play an integral part in it.   I know this one has been around for a bit [and no doubt Megan has reviewed it !!!] but if it comes back to a theatre near you and you haven’t seen it, go !!   Oh and Brian Habana liked it as well.

Then to the beautiful Rhodes Chapel and Jeremy Quickfall’s “MY GRAND [SE MA] PIANO”.  For a long time I have been fascinated by a phenomenon in the cricketing world.   You know how a young player who does exceptionally well in first class cricket in South Africa is then promoted to the national side and he just doesn’t make the grade however much the selectors persevere with him.  He just cannot make the step up.   I guess that happens in all areas of sporting endeavour and now I think it happens in the world entertainment as well.   Mr Quickfall’s pedigree and achievements [and oh yes he told about every one of them] suggest that he can take a step up to big time entertainer – sorry, no.  He plays the piano very well and maybe he should stick to that and stop prancing around the stage.   But to say that most of his audience feels the same would be a bare faced lie – my mate did suggest that people got to their feet at the end because they wanted to escape and because the pews in the Rhodes Chapel are excruciatingly uncomfortable, but I think he was being unkind.   Some people, a lot of the audience, clearly enjoyed the show.   Not me though.

Finally “NORMALITY” with Pedro Kruger, directed by Hennie van Greunen – “the 2009 Edinburgh Festival hit!” about the life and times of a crippled man [crippled progressively since he was 3 years old].    Not shying away from any aspect of being crippled the play through its story and its music, looks at what it is like to be seriously physically disabled – some times funny, other times heart breaking but ultimately, through the love of a good woman, a story of hope and redemption and a coming to terms with the disability.   Pedro Kruger, who I knew previously only from “Liriekerrai” on TV, surprised with the depth of his performance  and his understanding of the character.    Well directed and presented on stage, this was a really good ending to the day.   Partial standing ovation.