Enchanting, magical theatre fun

2011-12-15 00:00

I DEFY anyone who sits and watches this year’s KickstArt Theatre Company pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to walk out of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre without a large grin on their face.

The tone of the theatrical show is set by the Disney tunes, which greet you as you make your way to your seat, and the sparkly title sequence on the stage.

Designer Greg King has excelled, producing no fewer than four sets — the exterior of the castle, the boudoir of the evil queen, the exterior of the dwarf’s cottage and the inside of said cottage. The latter is especially well done, with its washing line of tiny clothes and kitchen full of small cups, plates and cooking utensils.

Georgina Mabbett makes a Disney princess-like Snow White and her vocals really shine in On My Own. Lyle Buxton plays handsome Prince Valiant, who’s in love with Snow White, but also finds himself having to keep his aunt, the evil and amorous Queen Malicia (played with relish by Peter Court), at arm’s length.

Buxton and Rory Booth, who plays Caribbean (reformed) pirate Zanzibar Jack, are a great double act — but Booth also has great fun on stage with Bryan Hiles, who plays the vegetarian royal huntsman Tom Trueshot, and Belinda Henwood as the kitchen maid with a dust allergy, Polly Pumpkinseed.

Their antics delighted the children in the audience on press night, and they joined in enthusiastically when asked to help keep palace doors closed, point out evil queens on the run and join in a singing competition.

Court, meanwhile, has a ball playing Queen Malicia. His costumes are a riot and boast a variety of (faux) fur and feathers, making him look, according to Tom Trueshot, like an “exploded pet shop”. And, his renditions of Eartha Kitt’s I Want To Be Evil and Dancing Queen are just superb. In fact, Court is such a great baddie that a couple of the children near the stage seemed determined to help Tom, Polly and Jack catch him during the chase sequence.

Also deserving of praise are puppeteer Wendy Henstock, who brought to life the seven dwarfs, and to Janna Ramos­Violante, Court, Neil Coppen, Buxton, Hiles, Marc Kay and Booth, who gave them voices — and to the show’s director, ­Steven Stead, who lends his face and voice to the spooky Magic Mirror.

I always believe that the best judge of whether a panto is a hit or not is how children react — and if the reaction of the little ones at press night is anything to go by, KickstArt has nailed it.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is enchanting, magical fun for the whole family — don’t miss it.

• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban campus until January 9. Performances are Tuesday to Sunday at 2.30 pm, and 7 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. No performances on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. Tickets are R130 and R100 (for pensioners and children under 12) at Computicket.

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