Bringing edgy back into the fold

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Eight years in the Cape Town Edge platform on the National Arts Festival programme knows that it isn’t just the edgy new productions they present which keeps the audience coming back.

So, home away from home is the platform’s theme as they will again present warm food, something interesting to drink, a big tent at the entrance and most important, heaters.

Of course, the productions are all just as important as the creature comforts, and this year the CT Edge will feature seven productions. “One more than last year,” said CT Edge programme director Tara Notcutt.

Each of the shows play for a full run, except Rob van Vuuren’s Pants on Fire, which starts on the second night of the Festival.

Pants on Fire represents the old favourites category, with Van Vuuren and Martin Evans again presenting their variety chat show which has them inviting various artists onto their couch every evening.

On the young and upcoming side is Undermined, a comic-book physical theatre piece written by Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Luke Brown and also featuring Stefan Erasmus as the third member of the cast.

Last year’s fourth year UCT drama student production Salt will get a full run at the Princess Alice Hall, giving the new graduates a chance to learn the ropes from the more established artists and Notcutt’s latest play, Last Round, is her first one-woman play featuring Cintaine Schutte.

The Rust Co-operative will present Siembamba, which was well received at this year’s KKNK.

Bernard Slade’s Same Time Last Year did well on the Fringe last year and represents a different side to the Cape Town theatre circuit: “A lot of the other stuff on the Cape Town Edge platform is independent and edgy and this is a West End play, lovely script and awesome direction,” said Notcutt.

Kim Kerfoot’s The Things You Left Behind was a CT Edge hit they had to bring back after it won an Ovation Award at last year’s Festival.

In addition to the programme at the Princess Alive Hall, the CT Edge will also market two other Cape Town shows in their booklet, Dan-Jaques Mouton’s Ek Sien ‘n Man and the as yet unnamed new production from Bulelani Mabutyana, the fourth Theatre Arts Admin Collective Emerging Director Bursary Winner for 2013/14,.

At the time the CT Edge were putting together their programme, they were unsure about the availability of the last two productions, which have since committed to performing on the National Arts Festival Fringe.

Notcutt sees this new direction of bringing other productions not at the venue into the CT Edge fold as a way of helping audiences find good new shows: “What’s cool about linking with Bulelani and DJ is we are saying to the audience ‘you guys may not know them, but you know us and trust us and we’re putting in a good word, we think these are going to be good shows’.”

• The National Arts Festival runs in Grahamstown from July 3 to 13.

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