A different slant on adult panto

2007-12-06 00:00

THIS year’s adult panto, a concept that has become firmly established in the KwaZulu-Natal Christmas calendar, is a change from the usual. For a start, it is not based on a fairy tale.

Panto stalwart Anthony Stonier (he of the beautiful legs) not only appears on stage and directs both the action and the music — he also wrote the script, basing it on the medieval legend of Robin Hood. Famously, Robin lived in Sherwood Forest, robbed the rich to give to the poor and fought the Sheriff of Nottingham. Stonier told producer Sue Clarence that he wanted to turn Robin into this year’s panto and, although she admits she was nervous that he was taking on rather a lot, she agreed.

And the result, she says, is the best saucy festive offering of the past six years, while she has been involved with the panto concept. “This year, 90% of the gags are new,” says Clarence. “And it’s clever rather than filthy.” Most years, the favourite gags from previous pantos are recycled into a new script, given a fresh look with a different story line and new costumes. So, says Clarence, Robin Hood offers something different.

Not too different of course, Clarence says. This is adult panto and familiarity rather than subtlety is what is wanted. The words subtle and pantomime don’t really fit together. But the five people in the cast are all professionals, the choice of music is good and Clarence feels that Robin Hood is offering the public a great product.

“It has been wonderful to have Clare McIlroy — Aaron’s younger sister — as Maid Marion. She has just trained at Pretoria Tech and she can dance, sing and act,” says Clarence.

Peter Court, a long-serving dame in the pantos, has decided to go the family pantomime route this year, playing Widow Twankey in Aladdin across at the Playhouse, but Thomie Holtzhausen is this year’s dame, with an Afrikaans slant. He is actually Friar Tuck, in disguise as Nurse Stirrups — and if you want to know more about all that, you will have to see the show.

How to book

The venue is the Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS and shows start at 8 pm Tuesday to Saturday and 2.30 pm or 6 pm on alternate Sundays. The show runs until December 31, with ticket prices starting from R85. Booking: 074 190 6239.

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