Saucy and naughty

2009-12-22 00:00

THE best bit about being in an adult pantomime is that you never know what’s going to happen on the night. That’s the view of Rowan Bartlett, who plays the sweet and saucy ­Buttons in Sinderella … Comes Again!

“This is my eighth pantomime,” he tells me when we meet at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. “You get to have fun on stage. In fact, the more fun you have on stage, the more the audience enjoys it.

“The audience expects a degree of corpsing — a few things we plan and a few things happen in rehearsal that make us laugh so much that we ­incorporate it.”

The cast also incorporate the odd unexpected moment that happens live on stage. For example the night I saw the show, Anthony Stonier’s ­ugly sister, Candida, managed to hit Buttons in a very delicate spot, leaving him writhing on the floor and Stonier in fits. This “accident” is now part of the show.

This year’s show features Bartlett, Stonier, Thomie Holtzhausen as the other ugly sister, Gonorrhoea, ­Junaid Cassimjee as the extremely well-endowed Prince, and new­comers Rikki Hastings as Sinders and Daisy Spencer as the tipsy, scene-stealing Fairy Godmother.

Asked why he enjoys playing ­Buttons, he says: “I like the audience participation. Buttons is sweet but at the same time he’s completely filthy, but the audience forgives that. I also love that I get to interact with all the action on stage, and I suppose it’s ­because I like apples!”

In case you’re wondering what on earth apples have to do with the role, Buttons wolfs down an entire apple because he doesn’t want to share it with Sinders and then has to sing a song with his mouth full.

It’s the 14th year that adult pantos have been staged in Durban and most of the audience have been faithfully attending for years.

“There’s nothing that caters for a naughty night out for adults,” ­Bartlett says of the ongoing ­popularity of the pantos. “Our show has a small budget, a small cast and is specifically designed for adults with slightly naughty minds to cut loose.”

It’s also worth seeing for the ­outrageous costumes, most of which are made by Stonier, expect one with feathers which was the brainchild of Durban designer Kevin ­Ellis.

Bartlett, who has also appeared in Othello and Winnie the Pooh this year, is hoping to go overseas to study in 2010.

In the meantime he’s having fun performing in Sinderella and hopes theatregoers will head down to the Jubilee Theatre to see him and the rest of the cast.

Just one thing — leave any ideas of political correctness at home!

Sinderella… Comes Again! — in a supper theatre ­format — is at the Jubilee ­Theatre, ­University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban campus, until December 31. Tickets for Tuesdays and Sundays are R80, and R100 for all other shows. There is also a New Year’s Eve special where tickets cost R200. Booking is at Computicket.

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