That’s my title for Simon’s latest post, after reading it. I hope things get better today otherwise it looks like a 5/10 festival on average, and then I will be cross.

So we start. First a sad note. Some of the cast of Nic Danger and the Rise of the Space Ninjas were involved in a nasty car accident on the way to Grahamstown. Thankfully no one was killed but one cast member is quite badly hurt and the show has had to be cancelled. Guys and girls – we are thinking of you.

Today I stopped being a producer [well for some of the time] and become a Festino – 22nd Grahamstown Festival since 1989 so I can call myself that, I think.    Definitely in the Grahamstown bubble – haven’t read a newspaper [except for Cue], haven’t looked at the TV news; haven’t listened to radio news.   Epic, world changing events may be afoot but I wouldn’t know.   Yah !!

What marked today? What happened? Well it was cold and windy to start with and then very cold, wet and windy; Vodacom crashed from about lunch until about dinner;  the lights went out somewhere about 16h00 until about 17h15 – guess the shows starting at 16h00 had a hard time;  forgot my wallet at home but got it later – felt restricted, couldn’t buy Cue, pay for parking etc;  proved yet again that people don’t read things properly – Cue reported 2 “LONDON ROAD” shows sold out and how many people said “we can’t get a ticket the show is sold out for the whole Festival” – NOT SO buy tickets …… please;  venue people make noise outside venues during shows – note to Ismail Mohamed : please include a programme training venue people how to behave while a show is in progress.

Today’s shows –

[01] The Petticoat Chronicle – with Amy Wilson & Buhle Ngaba, directed by Lynne Maree.    Described as “provocative”.    No.   Had its moments but quite pedestrian and predictable – all the woman issues covered have been done already.   5/10;

[02] The Table – with Annabel Linder and a cast of 5, directed by Sylvaine Strike, dramaturge – Craig Higginson.    A good concept but not done well – family dynamics in a South African Jewish family under pressure with the added twist of a [black] half-sister previously unrevealed to the other siblings and the product of an affair between the [now dead] father and the domestic.   This was the first performance so maybe it will tighten up a bit – it needs to.   Lots of stylized dancing/movement to convey everything from laying the table to flashbacks to dreams to memories.   5/10

[03] Meri Kenaz and the Appropriate Context.   Meri Kenaz was a joint winner of a Standard Bank Silver Ovation in 2010.   She’s good.  The music is folk/jazz/rock or is it rock/folk/jazz or is it ….. ?   Actually it’s all OK – a smoky, intense voice gathers you in and holds you in it’s arms.   She has a solo show as well and I may try and catch that later.   7.5/10

[04] “Rose” with Fiona York, directed by Ben Henessy.   Upfront – I declare an interest – we, KBT Productions produce this show.  So as objectively as I can be [and I am going to let others mark it] – the show is long [about 2 hours] and it covers events in the 20th century that affected lives of Jewish people the world over, from Russian pogroms to the Warsaw ghetto to the exodus to Israel and, in the case of Rose, to America and the current Palestine/settlers/land occupation issues.   Fiona York is very good and she holds the attention of the audience.  A small audience but there was a partial standing ovation and the comments to me afterward were very positive.  Go judge for yourself.