The hub of the festival is in the glorious City Hall building with the Fringe Club open from 11:00 till late. It runs through the school holidays and there’s plenty for families and children, including the musical version of The Gruffalo, and an enchanting-looking puppet play from Reunion called Le Rêve de Lucie. For different ages there are various magic shows and a physical comedy called Police Cops by a British company which sounds like real fun. Plus there is the inaugural Cape Town Buskers’ Festival at the Waterfront from 6 to 9 October.
As befits a Fringe there are many small, fresh productions by established and by emerging artists. The programme includes about 70 works - enough to make some navigation welcome, so here’s a list of the shows which have won awards at other festivals:
• Dangled, from Gogol’s Diary of a Madman with Rob van Vuuren
• Sacre for One, Alan Parker’s version of the ballet Sacre du Printemps
• Woza Albert, the South African theatre classic with TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande directed by Peter Mitchell plus a new show Termite! from the same team
• Tip-ex, a three-hander about gender issues that won best of the Zabalaza festival
• Two separate Afro soul singers Nombasa and Msaki and the Golden Circle
• De-Apart-Hate, a new show by Mamela Nyamza.
Aside from the Fringe, there are some remarkable stand-alone shows in Cape Town theatres this October, and the city will be visited by quite a few cultural legends.
The Cape Town Philharmonia Choir and the Johannesburg Symphony Choir come together at the City Hall on the night of 15 October to sing The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.
Pieter Dirk Uys, first among South Africa’s political satirists, will perform Adapt or Fly at the Alexander Bar (18 to 19 October). He first did this show in 1981 as Adapt or Die; this version reprises his famous reflections of the Apartheid era and its leaders, now updated to the present time.
Don’t miss the chance to see great South African jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim who will perform four solo concerts at the Fugard Theatre from 20 to 23 October.Expect a programme of new and old compositions drawn from his nearly 70-year career.
The Fugard will screen The Audience on the 23rd, from the National Theatre’s Live Encore series. Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II in this re-imagining of her weekly private meetings with the successive prime ministers of her reign. It is written by a master of the genre Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon).
A Steady Rain at the Fugard from 5 to 29 October is not for those faint-hearted about crime noir. This acclaimed production of the Broadway hit by Keith Huff stars Nicholas Pauling and Brent Palmer as the two Chicago police officers whose secrets are the fulcrum of the story.
Carmen was a wild success for the Cape Town Opera company in 2011 and the production is revived this month at Artscape, complete with a company of flamenco dancers (20 to 28 October).