BY BILLY SUTER
AWARD-WINNING Durban theatre company KickstArt has a busy year planned – a year that started with the company reviving its acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods with a season in Cape Town and, from March 8, at the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino, Johannesburg.
The good news is that KickstArt heads Greg King and Steven Stead, who also created the award-winning touring production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, are planning a third Sondheim musical – this time Company.
However, Durban will have to wait until later in the year for that. Company will run at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from October 24 to November 10.
It is to be directed by Stead, designed by King and will star Bryan Hiles, Charon Williams-Ros, Lisa Bobbert, Marion Loudon, Liesl Coppin, Lyle Buxton, Iain Robinson, Peter Court, Belinda Henwood and young Marianthe Panas.
A 1970 musical, Company has music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by George Furth. The original production on Broadway was nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards and won six.
It centres on a guy called Bobby (to be played by Bryan Hiles) who is turning 40, and has never been married. His married friends just want to see him find a nice girl and settle down, but Bobby looks at their relationships and isn’t so sure that’s such a great idea.
The KickstArt production of Company will mark the South African premiere of this Sondheim show that explores love and marriage in a modern, urban environment, with hilarious and heart-breaking effect.
The sophisticated musical features some of Sondheim’s wittiest, grittiest lyrics and show-stopping songs such as Being Alive, The Ladies Who Lunch, Side by Side and I’m Not Getting Married.
Tickets for Company, now available at Computicket outlets, cost R200 each throughout ( R150 for pensioners and students). No under-12s are permitted.
First up for KickstArt, also at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, will be a revival of the Roald Dahl children’s classic, The BFG, which played to great houses last year and is being revived by public demand. A beautifully rendered work about friendship and magic, The BFG will run at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from March 20 to 31.
This production, directed and designed by King, stars Hiles as the title character, and also features Belinda Henwood, Clare Mortimer, Daisy Spencer, Lyle Buxton and Straw Nzimande.
Tickets range in price from R135 to R195 (and, for pensioners and under-12s, from R115 to R165). Booking is now open at Computicket.
KickstArt’s third production for Durban this year will be Charlotte’s Web, a children’s play based on the book by E B White. It will be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from June 13 to July 7.
Designed and directed by King, the colourful stage adaptation of the charming book tells the story of Wilbur, a prize-winning piglet, and his unique friendship with an extraordinary spider, named Charlotte.
The cast will include Mthokozisi Zulu, Belinda Henwood, Lyle Buxton, Cara Roberts, Straw Nzimande and Bryan Hiles.
Tickets for Charlotte’s Web range in price from R120 to R180 (R100 to R160 for pensioners, children and students). Tickets for school performances cost R120 each.
The production that will close the year for the company is a pantomime version of Alice in Wonderland, running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from November 29 to January 5.
With zany, topsy-turvy characters, including an array of colourful puppets, magical scenery, vibrant costumes, topical jokes and toe-tapping songs, this show is guaranteed to delight the whole family.
Written and directed by Stead, and designed by King, the show will star Georgina Mabbett as Alice. It will feature Liesl Coppin as the Queen of Hearts, Belinda Henwood as the White Queen and Mthokozisi Zulu as the White Rabbit.
Others in the cast include Blessing Xaba as Nurse Nora Knowalot, Lyle Buxton as the Mad Hatter, Nathan Kruger as the Knave of Hearts, and Bryan Hiles as the March Hare.
Ticket prices range from R150 to R250 (R120 to R200 for pensioners). Tickets for school and preview performances are R140 throughout.