Cinema review: The Galileo Picnic, open air cinema at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, March to April, 2021

The Galileo Picnic- Open Air Cinema  

When: Autumn 2021- March 18 to April 22- Thursdays Where: Kirstenbosch Time: Doors open at 6pm. Film starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: R109-R130. R100 for seniors – proof of ID required at the door Website: Movie hot-line: 071 471 8728 available on show days Info:  

Autumn 2021 programme:

March 18  – The Hustle
March 25- Me Before You
April 01- The Secret Garden (2020) 
April  08- The Motorcycle Diaries 
April 15- Bad Boys For Life
April 22- The Notebook 

The Galileo Picnic is back at Kirstenbosch on Thursday nights, until March 22, 2021. We were thrilled and headed to see The Hustle, last Thursday night, March 18. The weather did not look great, so we went prepared with our down jackets and scarves. We know that Kirstenbosch tends to be sheltered from the elements, so no worries. The sky was broody (aren’t we all) but the conditions were great. It looked like it was cold but it turned out to be a warm evening. Kirstenbosch was in its own little bubble. At the moment, with this pandemic, one never knows when things may change and we reckoned; that we should enjoy the Galileo Picnic offering, while it is available.

In the past week [March 22 and on], we have been experiencing a heat wave in Cape Town. “March is the new February” is what is being said. It is a schvitzer [Yiddish for hot, steamy –as in ‘steam bath’] and it looks like we are in for balmy days, so yes, take it while it is on offer. There are various Galileo packages. Recommended: The Warm & Comfy deal (R130) which includes blanket and back-rest. Take down jackets –just in case. I was interested to see that seniors (60+) pay R100 for Warm & Comfy- good to know. Patrons are not permitted to bring their own chairs but may bring own picnics. There is food on sale – non-alcoholic drinks and eats.

I have been attending The Galileo for many years and I am always amazed at the level of organisation at the venues – getting in and setting up. Recently, we were at The Galileo Drive In and entry was seamless – with tickets scanned through the window- no need to roll down the window- no-contact entry during Covid. The quick access was again evident last week at Kirstenbosch. Park at what I call The Top Gate/Old Gate The official name is Gate 2. The address is Rhodes Avenue. It is the entrance by The Kirstenbosch Tea Room. I have been to many Galileo open air events but I still get a kick at watching the demo to set up the back-rest. See TheCapeRobyn Instagram story 2021 Lockdown archive, for back-rest demo video.

Last Thursday night and comedy, The Hustle was on screen. The Hustle [2019] stars Australian Rebel Wilson and American Anne Hathaway and is a re-make of the one of my favourite comedy flicks – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) – with Michael Caine and Steve Martin. I saw The Hustle on a long haul flight, shortly after it was released in 2019 and loved it. Reviews had been lukewarm and I was not expecting much. I remember being amazed to find a new release on the plane. Who would have known what was about to come our way, with the global pandemic and the cessation of travel, entertainment; never mind everything else. I felt emotional sitting at The Galileo in the beautiful Kirstenbosch, gardens which I haven’t been into since lockdown. Here I was watching this film which I had seen on a plane and I was sitting, warm and comfy with an appreciative audience, overjoyed to be at an event; at the movies. One could sense the excitement. Second time round and I again loved this film. I cannot fathom why it has had a generally lukewarm reception. Plot spoiler alert follows. In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Michael Caine has to cook up an Australian accent in a jiffy. In The Hustle, Rebel Wilson is tasked with doing a South African accent. She pulls off a lekker smacker of an accent. You must hear her say “ag shame”. The audience screamed with laughter. There was this communal wave of laughter. Real laughter. Real people. One does not get that when watching films online.

The Hustle was a fantastic way to get back to outdoor cinema- to the movies.  In addition to the Picnic and Drive In, there are other Galileo options. Check out the website. We don’t know what is in store in terms of harder lockdowns. Get to The Galileo Picnic – until end of April. It looks like we are in for decent weather. Don’t be deterred if it looks a bit overcast. On the website, it is noted that screenings go ahead when there is light drizzle/cold/wind. The screenings are cancelled if the weather is hectic. Call the movie hot line for updates. Take a few down jackets. Open air cinema is fun and The Galileo makes it a wonderful experience.

The Galileo Picnic at Kirstenbosch: Watching The Hustle, March 18, 2021 in Cape Town at Kirstenbosch, lockdown level 1, year two of the Covid pandemic. The sky may have looked cloudy but once again, Kirstenbosch delivered as a shelter-in-place. It was a warm evening. Beautiful gardens. Wonderful night at the movies. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.