King-size treat for holidays

James and the five magically altered, human-sized, talking garden bugs in James and the Giant Peach: a grasshopper, a centipede, an earthworm, a spider and a ladybird.  From left are Belinda Henwood, Clare Mortimer, Peter Court, Bryan Hiles, Lyle Buxton and Nhlakanipho Manqele.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

WRITTEN in 1961, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach has had many incarnations over the years – with illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark, Lane Smith and most famously Quintin Blake.

Adapted into a partially animated film of the same name in 1996, the story’s offbeat and quirky content was regularly targeted by the authorities – and the novel is reportedly at No 56 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 list of most frequently challenged books.

Good news is that a colourful verson of the tale is to unfold on the Durban stage next week – Durban theatre treasure Greg King has directed and designed a production that will run at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from July 5 to 23.

Playing the young orphan, James, who has a remarkable adventure involving a giant peach and five eccentric giant insects, is Bryan Hiles, while the supporting cast includes Clare Mortimer, Peter Court, Belinda Henwood, Nhlakanipho Manqele and Lyle Buxton.

An original score by Durban band South Jersey Pom Poms adds to the madcap fun of this colourful entertainment!

At the centre of the story is young James Henry Trotter, who is four years old and lives with his loving parents in a beautiful cottage by the sea in the south of England – until his parents are killed by an escaped rhinoceros during a shopping trip to London.

James enters into a magical giant peach while running away from his cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, and discovers a tunnel which leads to a secret room inside the peach’s seed. It is inhabited by five magically altered, human-sized, talking garden bugs: a grasshopper, a centipede, an earthworm, a spider, and a ladybird. Their glorious, larger-than life adventure takes James across the world.

History suggests that Roald Dahl was going to have as the story’s centrepiece a cherry, but it changed to a peach because a peach “is prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry”.

Performances of James and the Giant Peach are only during the day – at 2.30pm Tuesday to Fridays, 11am and 3pm on Saturdays, and 2.30pm on Sundays. No babes in arms or children under three are permitted.

Book for all KickstArt’s 2017 shows at Computicket. For enquiries for block bookings of 50 or more people/entire performances, contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places, at 083 250 2690.

NOTE: For my interview with Bryan Hiles, who fills the title role in James and the Giant Peach, click here: http://wp.me/p8dL0W-1tn

A scene from the 1996 James and the Giant Peach film that featured Susan Sarandon, Joanna Lumley, Richard Dreyfuss, David Thewlis, Miriam Margolyes, Pete Postlethwaite and Simon Callow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s