Escape to the country – only 5 blocks from Liz at Lancaster

Delta 2Delta cafeAutumn is a poignant time for some with the falling leaves, russet colours and crisp morning air signaling somehow the start of the bleaker winter months to come and the passing of yet another summer which, like all summers, never seemed quite long enough.  But the lushness after the much-needed late rains and the sparkling washed greens and clear blue skies, also make this one of the most beautiful times of the year.  So to go to Delta Café for breakfast over the Easter week-end was a treat. A mere 5 blocks from Liz at Lancaster, it’s a gentle Delta playgroundlittle oasis in this fast paced city.

Nestled between the local nursery Colourful Splendour and the spruit running through Delta Park, it has a country feel to it and it’s only 5 blocks from Liz at Lancaster. There’s a basic jungle gym for children, dogs are welcomed and it’s a favourite with cyclists.  One couldn’t ask for much more than to sit under dappled shade on a lovely deck,  enjoy simple satisfying food in a gentle peaceful atmosphere.  Kids can work off some energy on the jungle gym before tucking into boiled eggs and soldier-toast, dogs can quench their thirst with water bowls provided, and adults can kick back and enjoy the wholesome fare and soak in the peace. If you want to escape the hurly-burly freneticism of enclosed Mall eating or the convertible and sunglasses pavement-café culture – this is your place. It’s a haven of rustic charm.

Delta waiting areaAnd owner Daniel has even built a little wooden booth waiting area.

28 March Delta Cafe

When we were there we even heard the horses whinny – how’s that for a rural feel!

So all this explains why it’s my PICK OF THE WEEK this week.

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Abandon mindless nightly repeats of DSTV Jeremy Clarkson re-runs: hit the footlights instead

‘Us South Africans’ don’t know how lucky we are with the quality of theatre and the comparative low cost of tickets for what are often world class productions.  And Joburg is particularly spoilt for choice, with a range of completely different genres. There is too much dark comedy and way too many farcical theatrics in the real world at the moment, so let’s get some light relief with good theatrical comedy.  Showing at Monte Casino is Alan Committee in Love Factually.  Alan Committee was the indefatigable Love actuallyirrepressible protagonist in endless re-runs of Defending the Caveman, which, despite all its un-P-C gender stereotyping,  had some very funny vignettes of situations many of us have experienced. The same seems to apply to Love Factually which got a rave review from Lesley Stone in the Daily Maverick  Love Factually runs until 3rd April at Monte Casino Theatre.

Opening at Theatre on the Square on 29th March is Shape,  a new comedy written by husband and wife team  Steven and Kate Sidley and directed by Greg Homann.  It’s a satirical take on the different attitudes of three South Africans to their shared experiences. ‘The lives of these very different characters converge on the floor of a Joburg gym. The play explores their typically South African concerns – race, gender, politics, relationships … and the quest for tighter abs!

And if you still want some more comedic entertainment, the Joburg Theatre has Space Dot Comedy a stand-up comedy show on the last Friday of every month.  Each show features a mixed line up of six comedians and the host, Virgil Prins.

Liz's Pick of the Week

Liz’s Pick of the Week

POPArt in the 12 Decades Hotel in the Maboneng Precinct always has amazingly good productions which vary from the quirky and off-the-wall to the powerful and thought-provoking – often in the same play.  It’s a very small informal theatre which has short runs of 4 performances – Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons and shows usually only an hour long.  So do yourselves a favour and keep an eye out for upcoming productions at POPArt as they have really excellent shows.  Fruit (from 31st March to 3rd April) is a one hander in which 14 year old Matlakala (played by Matshediso Mokoteli) talks to her doll about her life in Soweto.  ‘There are no bright lights or busy sets, but rest assured, this will be one of the most vivid and compelling productions you will see this year’ – Tracey Saunders, Cape Times.  If you want to have a quick bite beforehand there are

Grilled Red Snapper Cote D'Ivoire style with potato wedges & plantain

House of Baobab: Grilled Red Snapper Cote D’Ivoire style with potato wedges & plantain

some great options close by – House of Baobab Cnr Kruger and Main 011 039 1632 for mouth-watering West African style dishes; Che Argentine at 303 Fox St – stunning meat and vege dishes cooked over an open fire. But you need to book WELL IN ADVANCEit’s incredibly popular (011 614 0264). And the extraordinarily inexpensive Little Addis for big platters of njera and other Ethiopian delicacies.  (Take your own wine – it’s not licensed.)

And to celebrate the Market Theatre’s 40th birthday year, Malcolm Purkey’s iconic 1986 musical Sophiatown returns for a brief run from 24th March to 17th April.  Sophiatown-Poster[12]_thumbGoing to the Market Theatre is so easy now. Over Mandela Bridge, right at the first traffic lights into Carr St,  left at the first traffic lights into Miriam Makeba St and the underground parking for the new Newtown Junction Mall is on your right.  Take

News Cafe on one side of the piazza

News Cafe on the Newtown Junction side of the piazza; City Lodge Hotel in the background

the lifts to ground level which opens out onto an outdoor piazza between the newly opened mall – the Newtown Junction –  and the adjacent Workshop (a shopping emporium in the old Potato Sheds of the original Newtown market – Joburg’s main fresh produce market from 1913 till the early 1970s). Various restaurants open onto the piazza including News

Deconstructed salad served in a wooden box

Deconstructed salad served in a wooden box at the Potato Shed

Cafe as well as the Potato Shed (Tel: 010 590 6133) sister restaurant to Grand Life Café in Hyde Park.  Fabulous pre-theatre fare is the wide selection of baked potatoes with scrumptious fillings.

So forgo the 989th outdated Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear re-run foisted on us by DSTV, tear yourself away from rugby and cricket replays, and, instead of asking friends over for supper, ask them to join you in exploring Jozi and its thespian delights.  That little bit of planning and effort  will be worth it I promise.


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winters tale posterNo, I’m not talking about the state of the nation but rather about Shakespeare’s amazing influence on the English language. I am sure many of you are familiar with Bernard Levin’s famous poem On quoting Shakespeare but I’m afraid to say that I did not know it.  I recently saw the HD live screening at Cinema Nouveau (Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg) of  The Winter’s Tale (performed at London’s Garrick Theatre). In addition to seeing the remarkable Judy Dench at the age of 80,playing Paulina, it was a treat to experience Kenneth Branagh as Leontes and Tom Bateman as Florizel, plus, plus plus …

As an added bonus, Rob Bryden read Bernard Levin’s poem ….

On Quoting Shakespeare

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me”, you are quoting Shakespeare;

if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare;

if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare;

if you act more in sorrow than in anger;

if your wish is farther to the thought;

if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare;

if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy,

if you have played fast and loose,

if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle,

if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing,

if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;

if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage,

if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it,

if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood,

if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play,

if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;

even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing,

if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then – by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! – it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

What an extraordinary linguistic and cultural legacy one man left.


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