Hit panto for the Playhouse

Georgina Mabbett-Kelly as the title character in KickstArt’s Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, at Durban’s Playhouse Drama from December 18 to 30.

……BY BILLY SUTER…….

THE Durban theatre scene is gearing up for festive season offerings that will include a revival of the popular KickstArt pantomime, Snow White and The 7 Dwarfs, which is to run for 16 performances only at the Playhouse’s Drama Theatre from December 18 to 30.

Audience numbers are limited to only 84 seats per performance, due to Covid regulations, so early booking is advised for this production, written and directed by Steven Stead, designed by Greg King and with choreography by Simone Mann.

The panto,  lit by Tina le Roux and with musical direction by Jason Bird, features Georgina Mabbett-Kelly as Snow White, Blessing Xaba as the wicked but sassy Queen Malicia, and introduces Sihle Manonyane as Prince Valiant. Others in show include Bryan Hiles, Belinda Henwood and Mthokizisi Zulu. 

Booking is expected to open soon at Webtickets for this and another Playhouse festive season show, a revival of Bigly Yuge, a very loose variation of a Clinton Marius-penned comedy that premiered at the Playhouse in 2019.

Mduduzi Nombela (seated), Xolani ‘XD Black’ Dlamini, Baby Cele and Bhekani Shabalala in the revised, Zulu version of Clinton Marius’s comedy-drama, Bigly Yuge

When I originally reviewed the show, I was highly surprised and disappointed that, contrary to the English poster and press releases, there was no indication until curtain-up that Bigly Yuge had been radically reworked and put into Zulu for its Playhouse festive season run. Even the late playwright, who was in the audience at the premiere, expressed surprised at his play’s radical transformation.

Now advertised as being in Zulu, the show is scheduled for Playhouse Loft performances on December 3 and 4.

Directed by Tony Kgoroge, the production combines comedy, drama, song and dance. It features Baby Cele, Bongani Mbatha, Mduduzi Nombela, Xolani ‘XD Black’ Dlamini and Bhekani Shabalala.

Bigly Yuge revolves around three friends who regularly meet up find the conversation inevitably turns to everyday dramas they face as ‘fatties’. One is facing an ultimatum from his partner: “shape up, or ship out”. Another cannot  hold down a relationship because of how he looks; and the third chap thinks he’ll find love by working through as many women as possible. All three have serious introspection to do, and realise they have to make drastic changes in their lives if they wish to be the people their partners would like them to be.

Also headed for the Playhouse this festive season are two dance events. Bollywood Song and Dance (Playhouse Drama on November 19 and 20) features the Nateshwar Dance Company paying homage to Indian cinema, and the Joburg Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs in the Playhouse Opera on December 18 and 19. 

Free Sundowner Concerts and Poetry sessions featuring local performers are also part of the Playhouse December programme.

Also on offer in Durban over the holidays is a string of varied shows at the Rhumbelow Theatre franchises, while Strictly No 1s, a fun showband entertainment, is currently wowing patrons at the Barnyard Theatre at Suncoast Casino. It’s scheduled to run until January 22. You can read my review of the show by clicking here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-6Dh


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