Red Cafe Wonderland

As my daughter and I ascend the staircase to Red Cafe I feel like I have stepped with Alice into Wonderland.

“The owner suffers, like, really badly from insomnia,” says fourth-year student daughter. Of course then, as we pass the lady at the front desk, I can’t help noticing the simply  enormous bags under her eyes.

“Just a thought,” I say to daughter, “don’t you think running a coffee shop might worsen her insomnia…?” Is it me or does the very same proprietor seem to work at double speed ringing up the till for waiting patrons, flashing away at the keys with a sort of caffeine-fueled energy?

Daughter and I step out onto the deck which is nestled quietly next to the leaves of a tree. The height and shrubbery shield us from the ordinary Grahamstown life below, adding to the fairy tale feel. While waiting for our red cappuccino and avocado shake , I glance across at a couple seated nearby. They breathe not a word to each other for the entire time we are there. And the young man is calmly painting his forearms. After surreptitiously investigating we discover that said young man is painting makeup foundation over tattoos on his inner arms. How curious. Perhaps he’s going to a job interview we wonder?

Even closer to our table is another man. Unlike the painter, this man is accompanied only by a vast bowl of cutlery. To say he isn’t talking to the cutlery would just be silly. But he does seem infinitely more fond of his silvery companion than the painter is of his friend. Even curiouser.

Action speeds up. Our waiter trips across to our table, sloshing my drink into its saucer.

“Oops,” he says cheerfully, “my nickname is Wobbles.” At the same time a tall, slender woman in a denim skirt walks past aiming for the table in the corner. As she sits down the raucous-harmonious sounds of a live singing group fill the air from below. I look up just in time to see the woman’s bearded profile come into view.

Is Red Cafe always like this? Or only at National Arts Festival time of year? I can’t tell. It has an atmosphere all of its own. One of a kind. I’d like to say I highly recommend Red Cafe. That you should go because you’ll have a unique experience. Problem is, I’m not quite sure if I’m dreaming or not…

Shepherding satiated student daughter downstairs after paying our bill to the night owl I say, “Come Alice, it’s time to go.”

 The magic of The Royal Ballet comes to the Big Screen with Cinema Nouveau

 A classic production of Swan Lake –“the World’s Most Loved Ballet – combines drama and tragedy in the battle between good and evil”.

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

A season of five famous ballets from the Royal Ballet is being screened at Cinema Nouveau theatres over the next few months. The season launched with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in March. The next production to be shown on the big screen is the iconic ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music, Swan Lake on 2 May.

Swan Lake, surely the greatest of all Romantic ballets, is the captivating story of a beautiful woman transformed into a swan, and a heart-rending tribute to the power of love. The ballet is a perfect synthesis of choreography and music and, though Tchaikovsky did not live to see it become a success, his first ballet score is now synonymous with ballet itself, inspiring generations of dancers and crossing over into popular culture.

Swan Lake releases on South African screens on Saturday 2 May for four screenings only – on 2, 6 and 7 May at 7.30pm and on 3 May at 2.30pm – only at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. Bookings are now open. The running time of this ballet production is 2 hours, 10 minutes plus two intervals (20 minutes and 25 minutes).

For booking information on the Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake, visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi. For queries, call TicketLine on 0861 Movies (668 437).

Information supplied by Cinema Nouveau.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes to the big screen from stage

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes to the big screen in the form of a ballet. The screening is to be the first of five ballets filmed by The Royal Opera House’s Royal Ballet in London and shown at Cinema Nouveau in South Africa. The other four include Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardee and The Winter’s Tale.

If you’re a ballet novice like me you will find Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland an accessible show. It’s delightfully bright and comical with an easy mix of graceful dance and descriptive play acting. This children’s tale by Lewis Carroll is well suited to the imaginative treatment given it. I found it a happy escape from the outside world.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is on at Cinema Nouveau in Umhlanga, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town on Saturday 28 March at 2.30pm, Sunday 29 March at 2.30pm, and on Wednesday and Thursday 1 and 2 April at 7.30pm. Shows (in Umhlanga anyway) continue despite load shedding!
Photo: supplied

                                         Photo: supplied