Scrapbook: Lango’s & Creative Madness

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Scrapbook memories… every now and then BILLY SUTER dips into scrapbooks that piled up during his 24 years as Arts Editor of The Mercury newspaper in Durban (he took early retirement in December 2016) and, just for fun, digs out reviews and interviews from yesteryear. Today he glances back at two reviews from 1999.
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Greg King and Phillipa Savage in 1999’s Beauty and the Beast.

IT’S back to 1999 today for reflection on Beauty and the Beast (see above), the first production from Creative Madness, the Durban theatre company which, created by Greg King, Peter Court and Phillipa Savage, later morphed into the award-winning KickstArt theatre company that is today so loved and treasured countrywide.

Also in the spotlight (see below) is Too Darn Hot!, the second supper show to play Durban North’s long-defunct Langoustine-By-the-Sea (later Lango’s) supper theatre, managed by Gary McKenzie, who went on to open the also-now-defunct (and much-missed) Heritage Supper Theatre in Hillcrest.

First staged by Creative Madness in 1997, as the theatre company’s premiere production, Beauty and the Beast was revived on a bigger stage in 1999, and the review featured above relates to that production.

The enchanting, one-hour production, conceptualised and scripted by the talented trio of King, Court and Savage, was first staged at the tiny, now-defunct KwaSuka Theatre in a converted church in Greyville. It was a huge hit and the 1999 revival was presented on the larger stage at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Durban’s University of KwaZulu-Natal campus.

My son, now in his late-20s, still fondly recalls being thrilled by this production as a child – and for good reason. It was pure enchantment, with the stage dominated by a large book, tilted upwards and which, from time to time, pages were turned to cleverly allow the bright pages to provide the backdrops for a story extremely rich in its play on perspective and the power of imagination.

As for Too Darn Hot!, this unpretentious and enjoyable cabaret teamed Kate Bruce, Melanie Roberts and newcomer Liz Cunningham and followed a disppointing show called The Three Tonners which opened the Langoustine-By-the-Sea theatre.

What is so fun to note today is the cost of this show, inclusive of a three-course meal. For just R85 one got the entertainment, a starter, a main dish (choice of prawn and chicken curry, lamb shank or kingklip) and pud. Great value! Ah, those were the days!

Kate Bruce, Liz Cunningham and Melanie Roberts in 1999’s Too Darn Hot!


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