Durban Theatre Awards

2011-11-24 00:00

THE risks taken by KickstArt Theatre Company’s Greg King and Steven Stead to stage quality live theatre were rewarded when two of their productions — ­Cabaret and The God of Carnage — swept the boards at the 2011 Durban Theatre Awards on Monday night.

Cabaret, one of the best productions I’ve seen this year, was deservedly named best musical-theatre production of the 2010-2011 season.

Stead received the best-director award and four of the show’s stars, Charon Williams-Ros, Peter Court, Lisa Bobbert and Sascha Halbhuber, were named best supporting actress and actor, and best lead actress and actor, respectively, in the category musical theatre-music revue and cabaret.

The musical also won awards in the categories of sound design — Megan Levy; lighting design — Tina le Roux; costume design — Neil Stuart-Harris; set design — Greg King; and choreography — Janine Bennewith.

For Stead and King, the awards were an affirmation of the risk they had taken to stage the dark musical in the year they celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Accepting his directing gong, Stead said: “I don’t really deserve this award because doing this production was all the satisfaction that I could ask for. I have wanted to do Cabaret since I was 16 ... but I was only able to do it when I found a partner mad enough, and a cast and crew that were willing to follow me into the dark days of the Weimar Republic. This is complete wish fulfilment.”

He also revealed that South African theatre impresario Pieter Torien had been so impressed with the Durban production that he intends taking it to Cape Town and Johannesburg next year.

“Sadly not with the whole cast, as some of them can’t travel for five months ... I just hope that we can achieve the same level of performance again. Everyone in this show had each other’s backs, and thank you for having mine,” he added.

Other winners in the category of musical theatre-music revue-cabaret were Thomie Holthausen for Peter Pan and Sue Clarence Productions, which produced last year’s adult pantomime, written and directed by Darren King.

In the children’s-theatre category, the winning production was The Fantastical Flea Circus, written and directed by Clinton Marius, and staged at the Catalina Theatre.

Marius was named best director and the show’s stars Shika Budhoo and Dhaveshan Govender were named best actress and actor, respectively. The Catalina Unlimited took home the best ­children’s-theatre production award for producing the play.

KickstArt gathered another clutch of awards in the drama-comedy section. Stead was named best director for The God of Carnage, which played to sold-out houses at the Seabrooke’s Theatre.

The play was also named best comedy-drama production, and three of the four actors in the cast were rewarded with Tim Wells taking home awards for lead actor and comedic performance by a male, Clare Mortimer winning the best actress gong and Jailoshini Naidoo winning the prize for best comedic performance by a female.

Other awards on the night went to:

• Shirley Berko and Greg King — poster design for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change;

• Jessica Sole — new performer female for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change;

• Nhlakanipho Manqele — new performer male and best supporting actor for The Coolie Odyssey;

• Liam Magner and Jacobus van Heerden — new South African script for ­Tokoloshe Come Again!;

• Thami Mbongo — solo performance for A Plague of Heroes;

• Jailoshini Naidoo — theatre personality of the year;

• Margie Coppen — Monica Fairall Memorial Award; and

• Ronnie Govender — Judges Award.

• arts@witness.co.za

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