September 05, 2012
FNB Variété Festival brings world-class acts to Cape Town
Fazielah Williams has lived in and loved her Mother City since birth. Having lived all over the Peninsula during her childhood, she now calls the picturesque City Bowl home and likes nothing more than watching the sun set over Table Bay from the window of her apartment.
A lover of the arts and proud Cape Town fanatic, Fazielah began her writing career by spending many hours as a child conjuring fantastical stories that featured independent heroines from faraway lands who saved the Prince instead. This Capetonian princess has enjoyed stints as a magical arts PRO and TV publicist before finding her calling as a travel writer.
When not waxing lyrical about the Fairest Cape’s most loved attractions and activities and embarking on unexpected adventures, Fazielah can usually be found taking in a show at one of the City’s fabulous theatres.
This October, Cape Town’s vibrant city centre will be transformed into a multi-venue theatre as it plays host to the inaugural FNB Variété Festival, an enticing new initiative from Eddy Cassar Public Relations.
The festival, to be held from October 6 to 20, 2012, will see a variety of comedy shows, cabarets, dinner theatre experiences and more, performed by top local artists at various venues in and around the bustling CBD. That’s 65 performances in everything from a hotel lobby, to an oyster bar and a hotel restaurant to a conference venue in just two weeks!
The aim is for locals and visitors to enjoy the city centre as a recreational space at night (no, party animals, living it up in Long Street doesn’t count).
“We have put a lot of thinking into the planning and potential growth of the festival. [It] offers Capetonians a wonderful opportunity to enjoy top acts in an intimate space. We have devised a five-year plan, which will see the festival grow, embracing certain nodes in the city,” says festival producer Eddy Cassar, who is also the man behind the Vodacom Funny Festival.
Think of the Variété Festival as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a distinctly Capetonian twist.
You could re-live your favourite Faulty Towers moments and feast on a three-course meal with the Dining Experience at the Cape Sun Hotel on Strand Street (a production the organisers assure us even John Cleese would be proud of) or you could sing along and laugh out loud with comedian Marc Lottering and award-winning pianist Godfrey Johnson in cabaret at the Taj Hotel.
For comedy and music with a feminine touch, the delightful comedienne Shimmy Isaacs tickles the funny bones at Café St George at the St George’s Cathedral, while Canadian cabaret sensation, Sharron Matthews belts out her best tunes at the Taj Hotel’s Lobby Lounge.
To give this amazing arts festival the spectacular send-off it undoubtedly deserves, the entire cast will perform at a gala performance at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch, a more traditional home of performing arts, on October 14, with the exuberant Lottering as the Master of Ceremonies.
I, for one, am looking forward to this first-of-its-kind event. The Mother City is already home to the Infecting the City Festival, the Cape Town Festival and the Cape Town Pride Festival so why not one dedicated to the celebration of performing arts?