KickstArt Theatre productions provide true entertainment. Watching a Pantomime is a ‘real’ experience that absorbs you from the time you take you seat till long after the final curtain has fallen. Adults and youngsters were agog. Gone were the jaded looks seen on children’s faces when engaged with a smartphone or tablet. If it wasn’t for Steven Stead, Greg King and Crew, Durban’s youth would not be blessed with the good fortune of being able to attend a pantomime. Kudos Team – you make a lot of people very, very happy.
So to the show. In true panto style the story is adapted to provide fun for all ages. Where the littlies were lost by quips about Grace Mugabe and Lindsay Lohan, they were enraptured by the acting, costumes and set. This year’s sets, lit by lighting genius Tina le Roux, were truly magnificent. The giant Roc that takes the stage at the end of the first half generated many admiring gasps from the audience. Another novel piece of set design is a moving set which simulates the rolling of Captain Long John Slither’s ship, the Salty Sultana when beset by a storm.
The cast consists of many familiar faces with the ever reliable hero, Lyle Buxton, cast as Sinbad. Taking a leaf out of Springbok coach, Alistair Coetzee’s book, a few positions have changed. Darren King switches outrageously decorated frocks for a pirates garb – and what a magnificent pirate he makes ! – whilst Bryan Styles takes on the role Sinbad’s mum, Dame Donna Kebab; leaving Graeme Wicks to take on the role of her witless second son. A new face is that of Mthokozisi Zulu, in the role of Bosun, Mustapha Kitkat. He is an actor to watch and delighted the audience with his cheeky wit and energy.
Belinda Henwood makes a convincing baddie and the singers are excellent, as are the 4 dancers. Pavishen Paideya and Kathryn Anderson are seasoned performers and bring a touch of class to the riotous chaos of a good pantomime.
Singing is excellent with Amanda Kunene standing out as a talent to look out for in the future. There is a good mix of songs ending with a Bollywood number which was well done by the entire cast.
Whilst audience participation was slow in the first half this is remedied in the second with adults and children joining in.
Is it good ? Yes – it is very, very good ! I was especially blown away by the reaction of the youngsters whose wide eyed stares and squeals of delight attest to the fact that this is another gem from KickstArt. There are very few sights that are more heartening that seeing children have so much fun. Adult appreciation was also evident as the final curtain came down on a well-deserved standing ovation.
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