Hilarious festive-season panto fun

2011-11-24 00:00

ANTHONY Stonier is at his brilliant best in the latest adult pantomime offering, Alice in Wonderland, at the Zone at Suncoast Casino.

Dressed in an array of stunning outfits, he owns the stage as the sex-obsessed Queen of Hearts, who has banned all other women, and especially those younger than her, from Wonderland. Enter fresh-faced Alice (Donnagh Roberts) who soon captivates the Queen’s seedy, Spanish-speaking sex-slave, Jack, the Knave of Hearts (Marc Kay), and has Her Majesty screaming: “Off with her head.”

Roberts is a great addition to the panto. She has a superb voice and her rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart was fabulous — particularly as she was having to deal with some seriously saucy antics, courtesy of Stonier and Kay, at the same time.

There are also scene-stealing turns from the ever bubbly Daisy Spencer as the Cheshire Cat from Chatsworth and a gin­addicted Dora Mouse; Thomie Holtzhausen as the drugged-up caterpillar with a penchant for reggae and a seriously stressed-out White Rabbit; and Sean de Klerk as the pill-popping Mad Hatter.

De Klerk and Spencer also combine memorably as Lewis Caroll’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum, two of the oddest identical twins you’re ever likely to see.

With a bigger venue, the challenge for cast and crew this year was to make the panto bigger in feel, while still utilising a tiny cast.

Thanks to Darren King’s script, which is witty and packed full of double meaning and jokes likely to leave the puritanical of thought spluttering with rage, a great choice of songs and some excellent direction, the show is a winner.

Helping to make the actors look fantastic are costumes couresty of Kevin Ellis and Gareth Greaves. My personal favourites were those worn by the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar, whose green sheath is a triumph.

The set is simple — there are two trees covered in green tinsel on either side of the stage, each of which has its own sexily suggestive bits added on — and the props cleverly put together. I especially loved the Hatter’s tea-party table, which is so enticing that you want to get up on stage and join the party.

Alice in Wonderland is great festive-season fun, and one of the best adult pantos staged in recent years. But be warned — pure and innocent it is not.

• Alice in Wonderland runs until December 31 at the Suncoast Zone in Durban. Tickets range from R100 to R120 at Computicket. Showtimes are 8 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Doors open 90 minutes before the show for dinner. Take a picnic or order something at one of the Suncoast restaurants.

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