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Gig guide: early December

Everyone who makes a living from theatre and music and live gigs held their breaths on Sunday 28 November when Cyril held a ‘family meeting’ after the Omicron Covid variant was found. But we’re breathing again, for now. Covid infection numbers are climbing and we don’t know how long we’ll still be able to go out, so get it while you can. But get vaxxed, goddamnit, and wear a mask, and don’t be a doos.
Also, stop Shell from decimating the Wild Coast, it’s the only one we have.


There’s spectacle, which is empty, and then there are visuals which provide depth and symbolic meaning to a production. And the visuals in Brett Bailey and Third World Bunfight productions are always vivid and often lush. Bailey tackles big themes – Political tyranny, slavery, witchcraft – and is at home within The Epic. He’s equally at home with site specific staging, so Constellations, being performed at Spier ticks all the boxes. There’s a fire bearer, or bearers, who will take you ‘into the woods’ and you don’t know who it will be. It could be any one of 27 artists, or artistic duos. It’s not a teddy bears’ picnic, running from 25 November to 18 December. Starts at 8pm, arrive by 7.30. Get tickets from R180 on Webtickets.

Dancer Themba Mbuli’s talent and hard work saw him move from starting Zola Musical Drama in Soweto when just 15-years-old, to winning the Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance award – the most prestigious there is in SA – in 2016. And then in 2021, his story, and our joy at seeing him on stage, ended. He died, aged 33. The company he founded, Unmute Dance Company which focused on working with dancers with disabilities, will celebrate its seventh ArtsAbility Festival at Artscape from 1 to 4 December. It will celebrate and honour Mbuli’s life and contribution to dance. Being a festival, there are a lot of different events. Check Artscape or Computicket for details.


There’s a chance to have a good time and meet like-minded people and give the establishment the middle finger on 11 December at the Aquifer Festival. The jol is to celebrate the Cape Flats Aquifer and bring attention to threat of development and pollution. The main recharge area for the aquifer – which we need for clean water and a healthy environment – is the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), which is also an urban farming area providing a significant percentage of fresh veggies to Cape Town without having to clock up hundreds carbon miles. There’ll be music and food-sharing and farm tours and what-not at the PHA campaign centre. The map says it’s on Morven Road, which is a short little road in Lotus River, from noon to 6pm. Search for PHA Food & Farming Campaign on Facebook etc.

Surfers and surfettes can get their Jack Johnson vibes live at the Soul Surf Gathering there by Blouberg when Atlantic Surf host a day of live music and food and merch on Saturday 11 December. After a day of hunting barrels along the west coast you can drop in for a brew, bru. From 4pm, 60 bucks at the door. You can bring your dog, or cat, apparently.


Student bands don’t usually make it past their last year at ‘varsity but The Buckfever Underground have stuck around for, I dunno, two decades? Mostly because all the band members have actual jobs, so they don’t live in each other’s pockets and get on each other nerves all the time. They pop their heads up now and again and the music they set to lead warbler Toast Coetzee’s rambling poetry inspired by the weirdness of this continent as he’s seen it being a travel journo for Getaway (no, not jealous) seems to have created a cult following. If you’re part of the cult, you’ll likely know they’ll be playing at the Alma Cafe in Alma Rd, Rosebank, on 3 December. If not, go see if you can be inducted. R150, show starts at 6pm.


Taking advantage of the online presentation of events is one way of making lemonade, and for designers, and especially designers who appreciate theatre, this one’s a treat. The Siminovitch Prize, which is the biggest prize for designers in Canadian theatre, is premiering four “intimate” documentaries about some of Canadian theatre’s most innovative designers. Visit the finalists’ studios, hear interviews with their collaborators and check what they’re working on now. The four finalists are all women and you can watch it live to find out what makes them so impressive. It’s happening on 3 December. Only problem is it’s at 3am, but that’s not a problem if you’re a night owl, which most theatre lovers are. Find it here.


If you haven’t heard, Shell is about to conduct a sonic 3D survey of the Wild Coast as they search for more oil and gas reserves so they can speed up our global climate disaster and choke our already dying planet to final death. Beyond that, the sonic blasts, which fire every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for five months, are at over 250 decibels per blast. That’s the sound level of one of Elon Musk’s rockets blasting off to Mars (burning vast quantities of fossil fuel as it does so). In short, if one of those Shell air guns was fired in your house, it would probably pierce your eardrum, or leave you deaf for hours. Consider how sound travels in water. Now consider what that five-month onslaught is going to do to all the marine life along the Wild Coast. Death and devastation, that’s what. But we do not have to take this lying down. Look up on Instagram or other socials and sign the petition and join the national beach protests scheduled for December 5, when Shell’s airgun ship, the ironically named Amazon Warrior, is due to start blasting. There will probably be a few protests in Cape Town, follow the ocean warriors’ for announcements.