Posts in "Psssst! Look Here."

One-man show cracks head, then heart, wide open

Review: Kafka’s Ape, Alexander Bar until June 22, after that at National Arts Festival in Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown

Adapted and directed by Phala O. Phala; original design by Liesel N. Retief
Performed by Tony Bonani Miyambo

If Tony Miyambo’s performance in Kafka’s Ape wasn’t so riveting the goings on on-stage would quickly have faded into a sideshow to the fireworks set off in my head.

I felt like I was transfixed, yet somehow I was also engaged in an intense Q and A with myself throughout. The show set off a quickfire interrogation of myself (“Did you really think that?”, “Oh no, don’t go there”, etc). Very confronting indeed.

Billed as “a performance about a primate’s struggle to overcome the confines of captivity”, this play is about the cruelty, beastliness even, of humans.

Miyambo’s extraordinary ape-like antics and sounds are both convincing and confusing. Through his eyes we get a disturbing look at that most primitive and barbaric of creatures, mankind. We can almost see the soul of the ape; man, on the other hand, is a drunkard and a fool.

Watching a black man discussing being captured and enslaved is so close to home and it’s downright confronting. Man versus beast is a proxy for that other great battle, man versus man, in this adaptation of Franz Kafka’s ‘A Report To An Academy’.

First my heart was cracked open, then my head. If Kafka’s Ape is hard to watch, performing it must require a pair that are made of steel.

I left wondering: Are we just the product of our lives, experiences and surroundings, or do we indeed have our own beautiful, independent souls?

Kafka’s Ape is on until June 22 at the Alexander Bar, which has a special place in the hearts of Capetonians with a love for independent theatre. Even on a blustery Tuesday night in winter Alex delivered with an interesting cast of theatregoers watching sensational independent theatre.

Food and wine that (almost) tops the art

Makes me weak at the knees … From the moment I arrive at this sensational destination in this gorgeous city – from the haunting opera music piped into the stairwell between the parking garage and the museum, to the food and wine artistically paired and passionately served on the top floorWe were already totally and madly in love with the Zeitz Mocaa Museum. The relationship got off to great start: It is about us

Layers and layers of pleasure, in every colour and shape, have been added week by week as we have popped in often, for a minute or so much more. Sometimes we linger and go on a journey from room to room; other times we pop in and head somewhere in particular for a quick fix.

When it comes to quick fixes, William Kentridge’s multi-panel digital video More Sweetly, Play The Dance is the hit of hits. It will bring me back as long as it is here (the plaque says it is on loan from the artist and the Goodman Gallery). Like a hit of something forbidden, the thrill of watching this particular tragi-comedy of pure South African-ness thrills almost as soon as it is delivered: half pleasure, half pain; half pride, half shame.

The beauty of a membership, we thought, was being able to pop in at will, jumping queues and avoiding the entry fee. We think we own the place.

That was even before they started wining and dining us …

We were alerted to the wine pairing in the café at the top of the gallery by a little, almost matter of fact mention in the members’ newsletter. An amazing deal, R250 for a three-course meal, each course paired with a glass of wine. All of this in that delicious space with its glorious geodesic windows that protrude from the building in a visual representation of the former grain silos full-to-busting with grain.

They could have served us scrambled eggs and a glass of port … Instead they served us three delicious courses paired with superb wines that made us wonder if Kentridge himself had been involved.

It is, in fact, head chef Christopher Law who is to be congratulated for the creations that come from his kitchen.

It was a procession of delicious, interesting flavours and textures, some that delighted and popped, others tickling and teasing. I am not going to lie, there was some stroking too. So many knockout combinations of food and wine.

Consider this extravaganza of a starter: scorched seabass, truffle crumbles, lemon-infused crème fraiche, pickled ginger puree, beetroot and baby leaves. And so it continued, a delicious journey through flavours and sensations. I have to be honest, though, the extra special ingredient on the day was our server, Richard.

This charming and knowledgeable waiter-cum-wine sommelier added a very particular layer of magic. He understands the wine and the food, the combination of the two especially. He served it all with such skill and more than a side order of passion.

He must have seen us coming because he was very quick to recommend a glass of bubbly, the Lourensford  MCC, before we start the pairing.

If there wasn’t a ban on using the word champagne to describe SA bubbly, Richard said, would call this this Cap Classique the champagne of champagnes. Not a word of a lie there. There is a lot of promise on the nose with strong aromas of cake crust, hints of marzipan even. Then the finest of bubbles and the freshest of finishes.

It was a perfect start. We were both glad there was no food with the bubbly since it would have just been too distracting. Total focus required!

Then it was time for that starter. A variety of little bites of delicate flavours and textures seemed to play together in a miniature symphony that was over too quickly.

The Lourensford chardonnay impressed the two of us, who normally avoid it even if it lacks the acidity of the others that sometimes stings and irritates. What surprised about the Lourensford was the absence of the perfumey, oily, woody chardonnay flavours that usually drive us away. Funny how you can like a thing for what it lacks. In this case, it felt a little like taking a dip in the Atlantic on Camps Bay and discovering that the sea is not as cold as you thought.

No one was more surprised than me when the delicious main course played second fiddle to the vino, the Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2015, even though the sous vide sirloin with caramelised pear croquettes (a revelation), the sweetest red pepper puree and the finest of green beans was a total knockout.

Loud applause for both food and wine, but the standing ovation went to Richard, who did a little dance as he unpacked and described our seduction by this Rhone-style blend. First, he said, you get a little spice on the nose … then a cherry smell passes by …

He does a little dance as he describes it: “First you feel your shiraz. Then there is a little tussle as Mourvèdre tries to get in on the action and finally, the viognier steps forwards and says, Calm down I am here too!”

That surely must be the climax, I thought, but then the dessert, aah the dessert: strawberry and cream vanilla cake, wild strawberry moose, honey and vanilla parfait, black basil crumbs and strawberry compote.

This spread of delicious sweetness was balanced by a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Asked about his favourite wines, Richard said: “If you have five children you, can’t favour one, not even the baby.”

The wine pairing lunches are served in the café on Level 6 of Zeitz Mocaa only until the end of April. A different menu is served every day.

Fabulous fabulous leads and a whole lot more

Review: West Side Story, Fugard Theatre production at Artscape opera house

Run extended until April 22

In this mad and fast-moving world appetites change constantly, attention spans narrow and it is easy to dismiss things as old or tired. That said, this fabulous pairing of a sensational Maria and a reliable and gorgeous Tony in a grand-scale production of West Side Story is anything but.

Lynelle Kenned as Maria is out of this world. Hers is an absolutely sensational voice that seems to soar ever higher and higher. Even when the whole cast of 40 is singing their hearts out her crystal clear soprano is unmistakable. US-born actor Kevin Hack as Tony, in a role he has performed almost 400 times, provides a powerful balance to her brilliance.

These two alone make the trip to Artscape worth it and you might even get tickets now that the run has been extended to April 22. But don’t muck about: it must end then.

This production of the classic inspired by Romeo and Juliet and set in New York in the Fifties, by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre, blew us away in the winter of 2015.  It is back at Artscape for one final season in South Africa “due to overwhelming demand”. Well, that is what they say (and judging by the full house and standing ovation they might just be telling the truth).

The story is so well-known and borders on the cheesy but an unforgettable score that marries stirring music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (“Something’s Coming”, “Maria”, “I Feel Pretty”, “Tonight”, to name a few ) blows any cynicism away.

High octone dance-fighting scenes between two warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, add a helping of excitement and brash big bang thrill.

Go on, take your kids, take your Mum and Dad, take the bridge club or your drinking buddies. There really is something for everyone in this very impressive production with a few absolutely standout performances.

Other principal cast members reprising their roles are Bianca Le Grange as Anita; Stephen Jubber as Riff; Sven-Eric Müller as Diesel; Craig Urbani as Shrank; and Richard Lothian as Officer Krupke. Daniel Richards re-joins the cast as Bernardo and James Borthwick plays Doc.

Matthew Wild is director, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder is musical director and conductor, and Louisa Talbot is the choreographer, with Grant van Ster as resident choreographer.

Last time it was the set that stole my heart …

(full review from August 2015 available here)

I managed to secure some of the last seats at the Artscape Opera House for West Side Story. The balcony was all that was left. I was only a little disappointed, knowing that a seat upstairs gives such a great view of the group pieces, in this case two gangs of hot young dancers play-fighting with choreography by Louisa Talbot under the direction of Matthew Wild. What’s not to like?

Being a little way back also helps me not fall in love with one performer and follow them around the stage to the detriment of the others, in this case, so many others in a large and talented cast of 40.

Blah-di-blah … A fragile balance is upset … Cue hatred and violence … breathtaking, high tempo dance scenes. Blah blah blah (as I said, full review from August 2015 available here)

Seamless mood changes are achieved by deft set changes between cavernous, clunky, concrete landscapes and intimate love scenes on a balcony or in the sewing factory where Maria works.

About my special little stage crush for the night, I will admit to being a bit mechanical here. Lead contenders had to be Maria (Lynelle Kenned), so sweet and winsome until she opened her mouth and filled the auditorium with soaring vocals, and the sexy Anita (Bianca le Grange), who is Bernardo’s girlfriend.

Le Grange, a South African sweetheart of an order I have heard compared with the way America adored Natalie Wood, who played Maria in the original film version of West Side Story, is one of those performers who doesn’t need a spotlight, her performance is already illuminated by her own fiery red circle of hotness.

But this time the crush award went to … [add drumroll here please] … the stage itself: the mechanics of a three-story set being moved seamlessly on and off stage; the lighting – sometimes knock-out sparkly, other times delightfully subtle; the stage that seemed to go on forever. (I really did lean over the balcony to check if they had fitted in more than a few rows of seats downstairs).

Swing into spring in downtown Cape Town

Gangsters and their molls, bootleggers, poets and playwrights, flappers and assorted dandies … just another night at your favourite tavern in town, you might think, but Cape Town’s monthly swing nights, which are launching on 1 September at the Reserve at the Taj, promise a whole lot more.

As winter breathes its last misty breaths, Gerald Schreiner, Daneel van Der Walt, David Lubbe and the Swing Cats will present a night of Prohibition era swing, jazz and blues music you can dance to.

Think foxtrot, swing, tap and jitterbug, and tunes like “It’s too darn hot”, “Let’s call the whole thing off” and “On the sunny side of the street”.

These Prohibition era nights (sans Prohibition of course) will bring a little Speakeasy-style decadence to Cape Town’s kinda sleepy city centre.
Guests are asked to dress the part, although it is not compulsory.

“Think of an old school dinner dance, of speakeasies, flapper dresses, flatcaps and champagne glasses moulded off the breast of Marie Antoinette,” the organisers said in a statement.

A sit-down dinner will be available from 7.30pm, and the show starts at 9pm.

Expect this to become a Capetonian institution!

Tickets available here:

Give reality the slip at the Wild Coast 

The more things have changed the more they have stayed the same since the days when it was one of ‘Sun King’ Sol Kerzner’s original palaces of relaxation and fun in the nominally independent Bantustans of apartheid era South Africa.

The resort – set on 750 hectares of natural bush on the Indian Ocean Coast, where the sun always seems to shine – continues to offer a haven from the chill and the rest of reality outside.

You can see forever: The bright blue pool seems to be surrounded by ocean

In this wonderfully warm and friendly world, real life and the flood of news about corruption and capture seem very far away indeed.

One doesn’t want to spend too much time in complete denial of reality, but a little break from it all surely does wonders for mind, body and soul.

For a high-speed re-set I recommend a quick visit to the casino, which always helps to shift me into a different gear entirely. Watching ordinary looking people bet thousands of rand on a single spin of the roulette wheel always has me aghast, setting a kaleidoscope of judgment, envy and thrill spinning in my head.

For a minute you might, as I did, imagine yourself in a faraway imagined place or on the silver screen with Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore playing with a lot more than their entertainment allowance, as they did in that racy and hedonistic tale, Indecent Proposal.

A few lucky spins stretched my own entertainment allowance and kept me amused for a couple of hours. I didn’t mind at all, though, when that came to an end since much fun was to be had outside under beautiful clear winter skies.

Better than cocktails: Foot massages by the pool

A more wholesome but equally heady and fantastical way to forget your cares is a horseback ride on the beach.

This highlight of so many bucket-lists lived up to the dream for me as the sweaty beast I was riding headed calmly for the shoreline and splashed through the foamy waves for most of the ride. I was reduced to the gulping, giggling teenage girl I had never been as I took in deep breaths of fresh sea air and pure thrill.

Even in midwinter a large bright blue pool, which seems to be surrounded by ocean, was always alive with children and the odd adult splashing around.

Less daring adults reclined on loungers around the pool sipping cocktails, reading books, admiring 180 degree seaviews and having foot massages.

Slippery slopes: The Wild Waves water park

An award-winning golf course, multiple beauty and wellness spas, Segway tours and the Wild Waves water park are just some of the other options at the resort, which is much more about family fun than its reputation might suggest.

Once known as a haven of gambling and the risqué entertainment that fell under the banner of “immorality” in the era of extravaganzas, these days you are more likely to see birdwatchers than topless dancers.

At another point in time when South Africa seems to be a corrupt and captured place, the Wild Coast Sun offers a break from it all with loads of sunshine and good times.

Give reality the slip at this resort less than 2 hours drive from Durban, where everything seems a few degrees warmer and happier even on a midwinters’ day in 2017.

Dump maths? Sounds like a race to the bottom

10X Investments called on South Africa’s Department of Basic Education this week to reconsider the “potentially catastrophic proposal” to remove mathematics as a pass requirement in the education system.

“Just when you thought we needed to raise our game in terms of maths literacy, the national education department starts a consultation on lowering the standards,” the asset manager said in a statement.

The education department confirmed earlier in the week that it had started a consultation on proposed amendments to pass requirements for pupils in grades 1 to 9, which would see mathematics removed as a compulsory pass requirement.

10X – which is disrupting the asset management sector by offering simple, low cost, index tracking products as alternatives to the confusing and expensive array of choices available in what has been described as “the most profitable sector ever” – warned this proposal risked exacerbating a number of simmering crises in the country.

“South Africa already has an unemployment crisis, a pensions crisis, a growing crisis of confidence in the education system,” it said.

“Basic mathematics is an essential building block in many of the sectors that are driving the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. To fulfil the promise of this revolution, which is to use new technology to leapfrog many in the developed world, young people need to be given the tools essential to mastery of the technology. Without maths it is hard to imagine how this is possible,” the 10X statement continued.

“The world economy is becoming increasingly science-orientated, with less complex pursuits at risk of automation. Those countries that fall behind in maths will fall behind in global growth and global competitiveness. Those who lack maths skills immediately close the door on many future career choices.

“Besides, maths is not simply about mastering numeric skills. A maths pass is a certificate in problem solving, in logical thinking, in systematic thinking, in applied thinking, in deductive reasoning, in discipline, in application.

“These skills are not only essential for success in many careers, they are key to making good life choices. From balancing the household budget to choosing a pension provider who does not take the lion’s share of your savings, basic skills of reasoning are important.

“The future already looks bleak for thousands of graduates who are unable to find work.
“It looks bleak for the working population too. According to National Treasury only 6% of the population will have accumulated enough money to retire comfortably.

“Who will create jobs and opportunities for these young people? Who will support these old people? It is hard to imagine how having more graduates with lower competencies will help anyone.

“By improving results by merely dropping standards the Department of Education will be equipping a generation of South Africans with nothing but false hope.”
10X called on the Department of Basic Education to reconsider the proposal.

“Let’s avoid a race to the bottom,” the statement added.

A connection, a picture, a story is worth a million miles

Star Alliance is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a worldwide competition celebrating cultural connections made by travellers in which entrants stand a chance to win a million frequent flyer miles.

Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance chief executive, said: “As part of our 20th anniversary, we are celebrating the strength of human and cultural connections. In order to continue building these, together with our member airlines, we are offering travellers a truly unique prize.”

All 21 Star Alliance member programmes are participating in the competition, which runs until July 31. People who are not already members of a Star Alliance programme can sign-up online and receive a membership number to participate.

To enter, travellers must upload a profile picture or selfie, as well as a picture and info about their favourite cultural experience. Information must include what made it so special and how it relates to the broader Star Alliance anniversary campaign theme of connecting people and cultures.

All entries will be screened for basic photographic quality and other general criteria. Once approved, they will be posted on a cultural experiences map on the competition homepage. Star Alliance said this map would give customers from all over the world an interactive map of insider tips and experiences from other travellers.

The statement added that the winner would perhaps like to spend their prize on a first-class round-the-world ticket for themselves and a partner, or maybe they would choose to fly 20 of their friends to Hawaii.

To inspire their members, each of the 28 Star Alliance member carriers has come up with a local piece of cultural inspiration. Founding airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai and United, have taken it one step further by challenging National Geographic’s Travel Nomad, Robert Reid, to test their recommendations personally and report back on his experiences.

Lufthansa, for example, flew Reid to the highest village in Europe, in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, to watch the hazardous, high-altitude horse race in Ushguli.

Open Streets Cape Town PHOTO Lisa Burnell, Cape Town Partnership

Other examples included tile painting in Portugal, home cooking in Shenzhen, China, and joining the locals in Bogota as they turn major roads in the city into cycle paths on Sundays, something Capetonians experience in their own city regularly with Open Streets Sundays, when the city is closed to motorised transport in an event inspired by the Colombian movement.

To watch the films of the five challenges, see

The competition is available in all nine Star Alliance website languages. Judging will be carried out independently by Star Alliance’s 20th anniversary partner, National Geographic, and winners will be announced on September 28.

More info:

– African News Agency (ANA)

A break from life’s fools, double crossers, wrecking balls …

Perfectly timed chaos: Russel Savadier, Louis Viljoen, Roberto Pombo and Nicole Franco PICTURE Christiaan Kotze

A motley crew of fools, an evil seductress and many a double crosser mucking about, stabbing each other in the back, wrecking the place. Sound familiar? The good news is that this is the theatre: art imitating life, one might say.

That said, The Play That Goes Wrong, showing at the Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay until June 17, is actually a wonderful, side-splitting break from real life and its clowns and their wrecking balls.

Sticking to the story: Robert Fridjhon and Sive Gubangxa PICTURE Christiaan Kotze

The show starts with an amateur drama society staging a 1920s murder mystery. Everything that could possibly go wrong does and the production quickly descends into absolute chaos.

The audience are frequently weak with laughter but are soon shocked back to their senses by what look like potentially catastrophic near misses. Doors get opened in faces, people fall or get pushed out of windows and violence erupts between the ladies.

There is all manner of chaos as the set collapses around the cast. Somehow the actors doggedly pursue the storyline to the end. But do I remember who killed whom? I haven’t the faintest. It is just too funny to care, even for those (who shall remain nameless) who think they are too serious for slapstick.

This very slick, very funny show is directed by Alan Committie and features a top-notch comedy cast including Roberto Pombo, Nicole Franco, Louis Viljoen, Sive Gubangxa, Robert Fridjhon, Theo Landy, Russel Savadier and Craig Jackson.

If it can go wrong it does PICTURE Christiaan Kotze

The Play That Goes Wrong – part farce, part slapstick, 100 percent hysterical – went on to be a hit globally after winning a number of major awards on the London stage. Even Patsy (Joanna Lumley) loved it: “We laughed until the tears ran down our faces! It has to be seen!”

This South African production comes to Cape Town after a sell out season in Johannesburg.

Mucking about while everything falls apart might sound ominously familiar, but this show really will make you forget about real life for a bit.

– African News Agency (ANA)

Calm speech belies chaos at Sona, wider crisis

Not getting her hopes up: Helen Zille said she found this old frock in the cupboard

What a difference 10 minutes can make!

Once Parliament had been cleared of his most vocal opponents, many of them by force, President Jacob Zuma started a State of the Nation Address (Sona) that would have seemed fitting in the most sedate of countries.

His final Sona as leader of the African National Congress started very dramatically, with disruptions and delays on various points of order. Disagreements, then anger, then threats and scuffles and, finally, ejections from Parliament.

Red alert on the red carpet: EFF MPS

Points of order made by various Economic Freedom Front MPs included the now familiar allegations that Zuma had broken his oath of office.

On this occasion the complaints were expanded to include accusations of skulduggery, including that members of the National Defence Force had plans for EFF MPs involving “biological weapons” and the less obviously dangerous cable ties.

The country held its collective breath as Zuma tried to push ahead with his speech while being shouted down.

Parliament soon descended into chaos, which escalated until EFF MPs were violently ejected. Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane led his party out in protest afterwards.

A bloodied and shocked EFF MP Fana Mokoena after his ejection from Parliament

And the winner is: Julius Malema addresses media in front of the big screens outside Parliament after his party was ejected

As the opposition parties regrouped outside Parliament, some of them quite battered and bruised, Zuma started his speech by calling on some safe old favourites.

This was safe ground indeed, it is hard to imagine upsetting many in South Africa by paying tribute to such heroes as Oliver Tambo and Miriam Makeba.

These tributes to the dead did, however, bring to mind Speaker Baleka Mbete’s seemingly callous outright refusal earlier in the night of a request from the Democratic Party that Parliament observe a moment’s silence for 94 mentally ill patients who had died in Gauteng.

News about these deaths, which were the result of neglect by the Department of Health, was still fresh in people’s minds. One might think the country stands united in sadness and horror at this hideous treatment of vulnerable citizens. Why not a minute’s silence then?

The show must go on, I guess …

With the House quieter and more friendly, Zuma spent 30 minutes talking about how much had been achieved in the last few years, including “successfully avoiding a credit ratings downgrade”, which some will consider immature.

Here’s one that doesn’t need a caption

The address made for uncomfortable listening, not just because of Zuma’s dedication to random punctuation and ‘mixing it up’ a little phonetically but because it felt so incredibly out of touch, inappropriate even, like laughter at a funeral … or giggling as your country burns maybe.

Listening to the address one would be forgiven for thinking that all was well in South Africa, with an economy well on track to better times.

Zuma spent time laying out in some detail the aims of the government’s nine-point plan to ignite economic development, which was announced last year. A veritable wishlist of what a development economist might propose as possible interventions to fix an ailing economy, it was pretty low on detail of what had actually been achieved.

State of the nation’s dreams? Yes! State of the nation? I think not!

Trotting out a few old legends and rabbiting on about policy without meaningful reference to practice seemed like a poor attempt at populism on a night when that prize had already been won by Juju and the Red Overalls.

It was almost 9.30pm by the time Zuma threatened to step up a gear, saying he would look at priorities for the year ahead. Those who let their hopes be raised that the best was still to come were quickly disappointed.

We were left feeling that the ANC is so divided and the guy at the top is just buying time dusting off old heroes, policies and ideas, fiddling, giggling … adding nothing.

Suspend disbelief … again, but this time for fun

Marcel Oudejans, host and founder of the club

It was not immediately clear if an inaugural event held at a venue cunningly named Truth on Monday night was a continuation of the global shakeup set in motion when the good people of once-cool Britannia voted to cut their final remaining tie to coolness by ‘Brexiting’.

It was also hard to shake the suspicion that this new weekly event, scheduled to run until March 27, signals the end of civilisation as we know it, even if that is already a disastrously eroded concept thanks to America’s election of the Orange Imposter.

If not exactly a continuation of the scrambling of the current world order, the sold-out launch of the Cape Town Magic Club’s third season, at Truth Coffee in Buitenkant Street in Cape Town, left us amazed and dumbstruck (a little bit like these earlier events), but very very amused and charmed too (nothing like these two other developments).

What these three events have in common, however, is that you just can’t believe what is happening even as it continues to unfold before your eyes. Some things belong in a magic club.

Marcel Oudejans, host and founder of the club, is on and off the stage all evening. He introduces other acts and throws in a few tricks, but mostly puts the spotlight on other performers. The opening night was a taster of quite a few different acts so sometimes we were left longing for more. Other nights will have fewer magicians so each magician, including Marcel, will do longer sets.

Matt Gore, the Ginger Ninja, warmed the audience up nicely with his slightly giggly, self-deprecating Ginger charm and classic, well-executed tricks. He keeps the audience just slightly off guard at all times, fooling around in a way that makes us believe for fleeting moments that we are not just having the wool pulled over our eyes by a well-built ginger Adonis in an exceptionally well-cut suit. Suspicion does linger, however.

Mawonga Gayiya: magic, humour and there’s more

Mawonga Gayiya bounced on to stage next. We were again disarmed and charmed, made to laugh and tricked and tricked and tricked. Comedy and magic, what a lovely combination. And there is more, I was told. Mawonga is working on a plan to take his magic into schools and combine it with motivational speaking to inspire young people. It is hard to think of a better platform to persuade youngsters that anything is possible and, to paraphrase the immortal words of Roald Dahl, If you don’t believe in magic, you just won’t see it.

Who knows what we can expect next? Mawonga Gayiya, the inspiring illusionist perhaps?

007’s ticket

Next up on stage was Brendon Peel, who looks like he is hardly out of long socks and short pants but, boy, does he have a grown up sense of humour. Either this young man is the most extraordinary illusionist or an absolute maths genius. Using numbers randomly chosen by the audience, some of whom admitted to being quite drunk, he turned randomness into the most extraordinary order, giving us mere mortals the slightest glimpse of the beauty of maths … or maybe he just tricked us into thinking he was brilliant. Either way … he is brilliant.

Who knows what to believe on Monday nights at Truth. He also told us that Brendon Peel, his magician name, is also his porn name. I know it works, but is it true? Who knows.

Hypnotised … or just chilling PIC Andrew Gorman

Next up Alan Marriott was also concerned with the truth, but his way of divining it was a little bit of hypnosis and a lot of mind reading. Or was it? Was it true? Could he have? How did he trick us? Did America just elect Donald Trump? Enough said.

Marriott’s act was more convincing for me than it might normally have been (and at least a little more alarming) because my partner was his chosen “volunteer”. She looked totally hypnotised for a while, although she insists she was just chilling and following instructions. I am not convinced. One thing is for sure, though, this was no set-up.

Andrew ‘Magic Man’ Eland: the slickest sleight-of-hand

The night ended on a real high with Andrew ‘Magic Man’ Eland, the consummate showman. His many years at the top of the game were very much in evidence as he delivered illusion after illusion at very high tempo. Many of his tricks are highly-polished versions of old favourites with coins and cards. They are delivered one after another at high speed with a big helping of charm. This is the slickest sleight-of-hand you will see and it is hard not to ask him to do it just one more time …

But that is what next week is for and the week after. There are different acts on every Monday night until March 27, each night will feature fewer acts but a bit more of each.

Truth Coffee in Buitenkant Street, which has been rather famously been named the best coffee shop in the world by some erstwhile kings of cool, is supposed to be dedicated to truth. But, the world is on its head, as we know. Stand on the sidelines feeling overwhelmed by it all or jump on the merry-go-round of fun and fantasy.

The venue, like the show, is all high-class magic.

Ticket Giveaway: Call Off The Search has two tickets to next week’s show, at 7pm on Monday 23 January, to give away. All you have to do to win is write to and tell us why we should give them to you (rather than use them ourselves) in 200 words or less or a picture (worth a 1000 words after all).

More info and tickets at

– African News Agency (ANA)