A friend’s baby is a year old and I haven’t made an effort to get to see her in real life as opposed to Facebook where I am kept up to date on all the happenings in their lives. Ok, the public worthy happenings.
I am seeing my friend and her baby tonight. I am taking a gift of the above book. It is one of those adorable books that demands that even adults touch and feel the rich textures which accompany the simple text on every page.
City children often only know farm animals through books, and in this one little ones can meet a feathery chicken and feel its bumpy skin, a woolly sheep, a bristly pig, a yellow fluffy duckling with a smooth beak, and a calf.
The book is made of board and it is really sturdy for little hands and it offers so much cuteness to touch. This apparently develops fine motor skills in little ones.
The farmyard and its creatures are one of the classic themes for young children, and this one is sure to delight my friend’s child (I will be mortified if the child takes one look at the book and refuses to read for another three years, but I know that won’t happen).
There are other books in this series if it is the hit I think it is going to be.
Really Feely Farm is published by DK books in April 2017 and is available through Penguin Random House in South Africa at approximately R130.00. The ISBN is 9780241268056.
Joburg audiences are going to have to schlepp to Pretoria, though
Press release below:
Singer, songwriter and record producer, Albert Hammond is a prolific music industry giant, who has written commercially successful songs for some of the biggest names in the Music Industry, including Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Glen Campbell. Julio Iglesias, to name a few.
A solo singer in his own right, Hammond will be returning to South Africa
in March for five shows in four different cities.
Hammond is a regular visitor of our beautiful country, and over the last
decade, has frequented different cities in South Africa to serenade audiences
with classic hits like
It Never Rains in Southern California, Free Electric Band, I’m a Train and Peacemaker.
This is the very reason Charl Van Heyningen Enterprises decided to bring
him back: “Hammond is one of the greatest
song-writers of our time. Audiences love him and it is time for Stellenbosch, Pretoria,
Bloemfontein and P.E. to experience this music heavy weight”, says Producer
Charl Van Heyningen.
Real Concerts presents The Mango Groove 30th Anniversary Concert
Mango Groove and Real
Concerts are delighted to announce that Mango Groove will be performing a
once-off, spectacular 30th Anniversary Concert at the Teatro Theatre
at Montecasino on Friday, 8 March 2019.
In the words of Mango
Groove’s lead vocalist, Claire Johnston: “2019 is a big year for us as we
will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of our very
first album, Mango Groove. With this in mind, it seemed right to us that we put
on a high production concert that showcases the highlights, memories and
moments of that album, as well as performing all the other Mango songs that
people have come to know and love through years.”
The Mango Groove album,
in fact, went on to become one of SA’s biggest-selling albums of all time (well
over 25-times Platinum), and produced a string of hits that to this day remain
part of the soundtrack of South Africa’s journey over the last three decades
including ‘Special Star’, ‘Dance Some More’, ‘Hellfire’, ‘Move Up’, and many
That first album release
created the platform for what was to become a meteoric rise to fame for Mango
Groove, and it paved the way for a host of achievements that set new precedents
and records that still stand today:
The successive releases of
several more albums and hit singles, including ‘Hometalk’, ‘Moments Away’,
‘Another Country’, ‘Nice to See You’, ‘Bang the Drum’ and their latest
album release ‘Faces to the Sun’;
Setting new live performance
benchmarks for all SA artists, being the only SA group ever to sell out
the Sun City Superbowl and the Standard Bank Arena six times each;
The band was the first to
redefine live staging and production standards for SA acts; the first to
command a million rand sponsorship deal, and were the first and only group
to remain at the top of the SA national sales charts for over a year;
Internationally, Mango Groove’s
unique and magical blend of South African marabi, kwela and pop
influences, together with the voice and presence of Claire Johnston went
on to captivate audiences around the world:
Highlightsof their career include the direct satellite
link- up to the Freddie Mercury tribute in London (to an estimated
audience of a billion people); their performance in front of 200 000
people at the Paris “SOS Racism” concert; and their performance at the
renowned Montreux Jazz festival where the band received 3 encores. From
London to Hong Kong to
From Toronto to Sydney, the
band has played to sell- out crowds around the world.
Mango Groove was given the
honour of being the only South African (indeed African) act to be invited
to perform at the ‘Celebrate Hong Kong ‘97’ Reunification Concert.
This historic event, part of the official celebrations commemorating
the hand-over of Hong Kong to China, was televised world-wide and
immortalised on a commemorative CD. It was followed up, in fact, by Mango
Groove being the only SA act to perform at the globally-televised concert
commemorating the handover of Macau to China.
Mango Groove was also
especially proud to have been associated with the ABC world- wide
broadcast of Nelson Mandela’s release where their music was used as
the main theme. A few years later they headlined at his inauguration.
Mango Groove has long been
aware of music’s unique power to change people’s hearts and minds,
and through the years the band has raised hundreds of thousands of Rands
for issues such as literacy, terminally ill children and conservation.
In founder member John
Leyden’s words: “In terms of finding the ideal partner for what is truly a
very special event for us, working with Real Concerts again made perfect
sense…Serendipity at its best! It was this very partnership that properly
launched Mango Groove on a grand scale to SA markets in 1989, and it was a
partnership that then powered its way through the host of precedent-setting
achievements in the years that followed.”
What can we expect from the
show itself, then? “Yes, the show will be a veritable memory-fest, and it
will truly be a joyful celebration of all the Mango songs we have come to love
through the years: All of this backed up, of course, with the best possible
live production, dancing and performance standards. As importantly, though, it
will be a celebration of South African-ness in all its glorious diversity: who
we were, our transition, the great ongoing South African journey, who we are
today, and what is still so possible for us as a country. This show really will
move you in so many different ways,” comments Roddy Quin of Real Concerts.
Mike Page, GM of Montecasino,
says, “Montecasino and the Teatro are thrilled to be hosting such a
momentous concert, marking Mango Groove’s 30 amazing years of enchanting South
Africans and indeed the world with their very special sound. Montecasino is all
about delivering memorable experiences to every visitor – and this event will
fit that bill perfectly. We look forward to welcoming the band and the
heart-warming and joyful celebration of one of country’s favourite sounds.”
Mango Groove’s 30th
Anniversary Concert @ The Teatro, Montecasino, Fourways (Johannesburg).
Tickets from R300 now available from Computicket.
Greg Homann, (director), former Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama, has taken the famous grand opera and re-imagined it for a cast of three (two actor/singers and one pianist). The two actor singers work hard playing all the main characters and telling out the entire tale in only 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It is also no longer a tragedy. It
has become a comedy. A musical comedy.
The two singer/actors are Clint Lesch and Len-Barry Simons. The pianist is Wessel Odendaal. The three of them make musical magic as they cavort around using visual and verbal humour to keep the audience amused throughout. Both singers are vocally secure and excellent actors.
I attended with both opera fundis and non-opera people in my group. It was interesting that the non-opera person caught the humour and enjoyed himself as much as the opera fundis. So no opera knowledge required, although I think knowing the original made it funnier (I might just be justifying my screeches of laughter).
Aida Abridged is exquisitely created and directed. It looks as if it has
taken all the little mishaps from rehearsal and incorporated them into the
work. They are hilarious.
The scroll (part of the brilliant set) is beyond fabulous as it serves
the function of both Egyptian hieroglyphs and surtitles. The costumes pivot around hard hats
embellished to represent their various characters.
I found the whole thing delightfully absurd and wonderful fun. I highly recommend it. It can be seen at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square until 1 February 2019.
Popular comedian, Marc Lottering’s most beloved alter ego, Aunty Merle Abrahams sashays onto the stage for the first time in Johannesburg with Aunty Merle, The Musical from 1 February until 3 March 2019 on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre.
comedian, Marc Lottering and directed by Lara Foot, the show has received four Fleur du Cap nominations and has already enjoyed two
sell-out seasons in Cape Town to rave reviews.
musical with an international punch, a debut production that astonishes with
its assuredness.” – Karen Rutter, WeekendSpecial
one-liners that are met with sassy comebacks.” – Kirsten Delcie, Whats On
In Cape Town
High drama unfolds in Belgravia Road, Athlone, as Merle’s daughter, Abigail, announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Alan. As Merle puts it: “He’s a good looking white chap!” But it’s never smooth-sailing in the world of musicals when Abigail’s twisted and corrupt ex, Denver Paulse – who holds a dodgy top job with the SABC – is determined to get her back – and if not, threatens to reveal a very dark secret which is bound to tear the lovers apart.
Merle, The Musical
boasts a talented South African cast including Marc Lottering as Aunty Merle,
Tracey-Lee Oliver as Abigail, Paul du Toit as Alan, Loukmaan Adams as Denver
Paulse, with a stellar support cast including Royston Stoffels, Tankiso
Mamabolo, Gina Shmukler, Adrian Galley, Carmen Maarman, Zandile Madliwa,
Sizwesandile Mnisi, Anzio September, Crystal Finck and Austin Rose –
accompanied by a live 8-piece band.
original songs, with lyrics by Marc Lottering and Tarryn Lamb; musical
direction by Alistair Izobel and choreography by Grant Van Ster, have earned
the cast thunderous standing ovations.
Aunty Merle – The Musical is suitable for all ages (no under 3’s). Tickets from R145
are available through Webtickets and Pick ‘n Pay outlets. Performances
are Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, with matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays
at 3pm. Visit www.joburgtheatre.com for more information.
Town fans can also expect a triumphant return season at the Baxter Theatre from
3rd December, 2018 to 5th January, 2019.
Remember the advertisement “I don’t like cricket … I looooove it!”? Well, I embody that advertisement.
Regular readers of my work will probably have heard this story before, but I will tell it again for those who haven’t.
I was in Standard Three (Grade Five by today’s reckoning) and we were all sent home with a form to say we had to two two summer sports, swimming being compulsory and one other. I surveyed the list and knew already that I sucked at tennis and athletics. I hadn’t tried cricket, so I put my name down for cricket. My father signed the form without comment.
The next day at school my form caused consternation as I was told I can’t do cricket because I was a girl. My father was phoned and he, women’s libber that he was, said “Cricket or nothing”. Thus it was that I was made the cricket scorer and learned to love cricket more than a decade before watching cricket on TV made more women fans of cricket.
When I was in Port Elizabeth, the previous home of the Boxing Day test, I watched often, from the stairs above the first aid post at St George’s Park where I did lots of St John duties during my years spent in the Friendly City.
Now the Boxing Day test match has moved to Centurion, the SuperSport Park. The reason it has moved is simply about money. Not enough fans were attending in Port Elizabeth. No altruism. So here we are, trying to start a new tradition for Gauteng based cricket fans – a tradition of attending the cricket test match at SuperSport Park.
The PR boffins have dubbed it “it’s the new-est, family-est Boxing Day-est SA tradition” and we are being invited to take our whole families (it is actually “Family Day”) out to the cricket.
There are a lot of worse ways to spend Boxing Day than at the cricket. Pack a picnic of all the Christmas dinner leftovers or eat the fast foods so thoughtfully provided by the hosts. Drink their beers, cold drinks (they really are cold) and enjoy their ice creams. Support your team. This year the Proteas are taking on Pakistan and there are lots of local Pakistani supporters in Gauteng.
We want this to become a tradition here in Gauteng, so we need to support this venture by putting our bums on the stadium seats.
Bring your South Africa flags, bring your face paints to paint the flag, bring your cameras and cricket supporters’ shirts. Bring hats and sun protection. Bring the kids. Bring granny.
Yes. Bring granny (or other mobility impaired family member or friend). The bleachers may be out of the question, but there is always the grass (and these are the cheap “seats” if one is mobility impaired. There is VIP parking for vehicles displaying the correct stickers for wheelchair access. These tickets are R80 for pensioners (take your SASSA card) and for children between 7 and 17. R120 for others. Importantly, don’t go looking for tickets on Computicket. They are being sold by TicketPro.
It was my Standard Six (Grade 8 in modern parlance) set work, and I settled down to read the required number of chapters of A Christmas Carol as homework (I didn’t normally do homework, but I liked reading). I finished the book a few short hours later. It was my first Charles Dickens book, but I was already hooked. I’ve had a soft spot for the work ever since, which is fortunate, because it is regularly revived.
This year one can see Elizma Badenhorst’s adaptation for VR Theatrical at The Studio Theatre, Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, again (It was a hit last year). Directed by Elizma Badenhorst with a soundscape by Wessel Odendaal and animation by Naret Loots, this is a charming production.
Jason K Ralph portrays Ebenezer Scrooge with Naret Loots playing everyone else, often with puppets, as the transformation of Scrooge from mean and miserly to generous and great takes place after the Spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas future have done their work.
I missed the play last year (regular readers will know my health woes of 2017) and I was delighted to catch it this year. It really is very entertaining, even though Scrooge was eager to learn his lessons from the Christmas Spirits, rather than reluctant, even terrified, as in the book.
Take note of the fact that this book is not a set work until children reach high school. The play adaptation is unlikely to entrance younger children, but it will thrill the young person inside the crabbiest of adults.
A Christmas Carol can be seen until 6 January 2019.