Scrapbook memories: cartoonist King

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Scrapbook memories… every now and then I dip into scrapbooks that piled up during my 24 years as Arts Editor of The Mercury newspaper in Durban and, just for fun, dig out reviews and interviews from yesteryear. Today we go back nearly 20 years, to April and May 1997.

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BY BILLY SUTER

Scrapbook memories today are focused on the great artistic ability of multi-award-winning Durban set and costume designer Greg King, who, before his KickstArt days, was a somewhat shy actor with a penchant for drawing.

Now Greg is king of the awards ceremonies, his many credits for design including Wit, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and The Beast, Shirley Valentine, Dracula, Little Shop of Horrors, Sweeney Todd, Venus in Fur, Into the Woods, Annie, The Ladykillers and all the pantos in Durban in recent years.

I remember approaching a young Greg, after he designed a comic-inspired programme for a production of Grease at Durban’s Playhouse, to consider being commissioned to provide cartoon sketches of shows to accompany my reviews in The Mercury. He was paid the princely sum of R300 for each cartoon, if I recall correctly.

Greg did a good few cartoons for my reviews and interviews, not least the brilliant illustrations above and below.

The cartoon above, which featured in The Mercury in May 1997, was to promote a competition to win show tickets and a meal for the long-running Elton supper show at Durban’s sadly-now-defunct Playhouse Cellar.

Elton broke records then for the longest show to run in Durban. It starred Karen van Pletzen, De Wet Wraight, Percy Smith and dancers Zizi Pieterse, Nicole Hughes and Alain Rijnvis… all featured in the cartoon.

Below is the cartoon Greg did to accompany my interview with singer-dancer Duncan Royce (below left in the cartoon), who was one of the stars of Geoffrey Sutherland’s ahead-of-its time Queen song-and-dance tribute spectacle, Queen at the Opera, at the Playhouse Opera.

Also featured in the cartoon are Joseph Clark (top), Luciano Zuppa (centre left), a long-locked Paul Warwick-Griffin (right) and opera star Sally June Gain.

Great memories of the Playhouse in its heyday!

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