BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN’S treasured KickstArt theatre company plans three productions this year at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre – a South African contemporary comedy exploring relationship mayhem, a Roald Dahl family favourite and a sparkling, refreshed revival of its original pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, last staged nine years ago.
Steven Stead, who heads the company with Greg King, pointed out that first up, for 19 performances from April 2 to 19, would be An Unromantic Comedy, an acclaimed contemporary work by South African actress and playwright Rosalind Butler.
This play was first staged in 2013 – a Johannesburg production teaming Charmaine Weir-Smith and Antony Coleman. It premiered at the Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College before a season at Sandton’s Theatre on the Square.
The 2020 KickstArt production will star local favourites Jessica Sole and Iain Robinson, last teamed in KickstArt’s Private Lives, as well as Belinda Henwood, who filled the title role in KickstArt’s Charlotte’s Web last year. They will be under Stead’s direction and King will design the production.
Ticket prices will be R180 throughout (R130 for pensioners and students with valid cards).
An Unromantic Comedy is said to be a fresh, funny and thought-provoking play centred on Tony, who prepares a romantic dinner for two. He is shocked when Rachel, his ex-fiancée, arrives. Tony realises then that he sent Rachel the text message invitation to dinner instead of his intended guest.
An awkward evening ensues as the couple is forced to confront their infidelities, hopes, dreams, disappointments and the truth about who they really are.
Stead was undecided about whether KickstArt would present Road Dahl’s The Witches or The Fantastic Mr Fox mid-year, but the company has now opted for the latter. It will be presented at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from June 11 to July 5.
Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book about a wily fox that outwits three horrible human farmers will come to vivid life in a thrilling new version featuring enchanting puppets, magical make-up and, we are advised, some very special special effects.
Starring Belinda Henwood, Mthokozisi Zulu, Lyle Buxton and other Durban actors who have still to be cast, this production is to be directed by Stead and designed by King.
Ticket prices for the show, which has been scheduled for 26 performances, will range from R120 to R180, with tickets for school performances costing R130.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves will run from November 25 to January 10. Ticket prices will range from R160 to R260 (R150 throughout for school and preview performances).
KickstArt’s 15th family pantomime promises to be a riot of magic, colour and laughter. Based on the famous fairytale of the fair princess and her adventures involving seven vertically challenged friends, an evil stepmother and her creepily enchanted mirror, this pantomime version has been written and directed by Stead.
With gorgeous new sets and costumes by King, choreography by Simone Mann, and magical lighting by Tina le Roux, this production amounts to perfect holiday fare for the entire family.
Starring Georgina Mabbett as Snow White, Blessing Xaba as her wicked stepmother Queen Malicia and Anthony Downing as her handsome prince, the show will also feature Lyle Buxton, Mthokozisi Zulu and Belinda Henwood.
Early booking is advised for the pantomime which, this year, will have 41 performances, but – note well – not on Mondays and not from Christmas Day to January 2 inclusive, due to the university theatre closing for that holiday period. Performances have been scheduled to resume from January 3 to 10.
Booking for all KickstArt productions is at Computicket outlets.