A year of theatre delights from Durban’s KickStArt Theatre

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Join KickStart Theatre Company for a trip Into The Woods. Photo: Val Adamson

DURBAN’S KickstArt Theatre Company is presenting an exciting bouquet of productions for 2016.

Currently running at Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay is the acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which runs until April 16.

The production won several Durban Mercury Theatre Awards, including best musical, and has been nominated for ten of Joburg’s coveted Naledi Awards following its highly successful season at Montecasino late last year, which was extended by two weeks due to public demand. The production stars Jonathan Roxmouth and Durban favourite, Charon Williams-Ros.

KickstArt opens its Durban programme with a brand new production of another Sondheim classic, Into the Woods. This moody, magical, thought-provoking musical has long been on director Steven Stead’s wish-list, and now he and his creative collaborator, Greg King, are realising a dream, bring the first professional production ever to Durban!

Into the Woods follows the trials and adventures of a collection of well-known fairy-tale characters, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Red Riding Hood. They all go into the deep, dark woods on separate quests, and their paths cross and intersect with sometimes amusing, sometimes alarming results.

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Lisa Bobbert plays The Witch in Into The Woods. Photo; Val Adamson

KickstArt has assembled and all-star cast for this important production: Frances Currie, now resident in the United Kingdom, is coming out to play the indecisive and under-confident Cinderella, with Liesl Coppin as her wicked step-mother.

Bryan Hiles and Jessica Sole play the central characters of the Baker and his wife, who have to collect a series of magical objects over three nights in order to dispel the curse of the eccentric next-door witch and have a child of their own.

The Witch, a hugely challenging role first created by Broadway diva Bernadette Peters, and recently played on screen by Meryl Streep, is played with relish and style by Durban’s own delicious diva, Lisa Bobbert.

Graeme Wicks plays hapless, dreamy jack, with Marion Loudon as his exasperated, ever-practical mother. Red Ridinghood is played by Katy Moore, and her nemesis, the ever-lurking Wolf, is played by Lyle Buxton, who also plays Cinderella’s handsome and seemingly charming Prince.

Rapunzel is played by sweet-voiced Haylea Hounsom, and her prince by exciting new-comer, Alex Hodges.

Into the Woods is directed by Steven Stead, with musical direction by Roelof Colyn (Handful of Keys), set design by Greg King, costume designs by Neil Harris, and lighting by Tina le Roux.

It runs from April 15 to May 1, with performances at 7.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, 2.30pm on Saturday, and 6pm on Sunday. Please note that despite its fairytale characters, this musical is aimed at adults, and is not suitable for children under eight years old.

Tickets for Into the Woods range from R120 to R200 (R100 to R150 children and pensioners).

In the July holidays, KickstArt will be presenting two productions aimed at younger audiences: a revival of Shrek, the Musical at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City, Gauteng, in collaboration with Tsogo Sun, and Winnie the Pooh at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban.

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Don’t miss Shrek The Musical

Shrek stars all the original Durban cast of principals, Lyle Buxton, Jessica Sole, Jacobus van Heerden, Rory Booth and Graeme Wicks. It runs from June 24 to July 17 with performances at 2.30pm from Wednesday to Sunday, 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday. Having been fortunate to see this amazing show in Durban I highly recommend you book seats now!

Please note: No children under four years old.

Winnie the Pooh is a colourful and faithful adaptation of AA Milne’s classic children’s book. It stars Nhlakamepho Manqele as  the much-beloved bear, and quirky Belinda Henwood as his nervous side-kick, Piglet.

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Winnie-The-Pooh. Photo: Val Adamson

Others in the cast include Liesl Coppin as bossy but motherly Kanga, and Luca Tarboton (Annie in KickstArt’s 2014 production of Annie) as her mischievous off-spring, Roo. Bryan Hiles plays Tigger, Roo’s bouncy partner in crime, and Rowan Bartlett plays all-knowing Owl, with Anthony Stonier as ever-efficient Rabbit. Peter Court plays doleful donkey Eeyore, and directs this production. Set and costume design is by Greg King.

Winnie the Pooh  runs from June 30 to July 17, with performances at 2.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday and7pm on Fridays. No babes in arms, or children under three.

Tickets for Winnie The Pooh range from R120-R180 (R100-R150 children and pensioners).

Finally, KickstArt’s much anticipated contribution to the festive season is the traditional family pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. Inspired by the film Frozen, this magical tale unfolds in a magical Scandinavian country, all Gothic towers, wreathed with snow, crystal and ice, and promises a romantic, enchanting adventure for all ages.

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Lyle Buxton and Haylea Hounsom in Sleeping Beauty. Photo: Val Adamson

It stars Haylea Hounsom as Princess Rose, with Lyle Buxton as her handsome prince, Robin. Carol Trench makes another rare and very welcome return to the Durban stage to play her hilarious and anxiety-ridden mother, Queen Dot, and Peter Court plays her lugubrious, hard of hearing father, King Frotho the Frosty.

Darren King and Graeme Wicks provide masses of humour as Nurse Nora Knickersnagger and Hucleby Hopscotch the court jester, and Bryan Hiles reaches new levels of charming silliness as the cowardly knight, Sir Ninnyliver.

The magical forces of good and evil are splendidly represented by the effervescent Belinda Henwood as Celestina Sparkle, and Katy Moore as the deliciously evil Maleficent.

Sleeping Beauty is directed by Steven Stead, with musical direction by Evan Roberts, set and costume designs by Greg King, and lighting by Tina le Roux.

It runs from December 2 to January 8, with performances at 2.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday, 7pm on Friday or Saturday. No performances Christmas day, Boxing day or New Year’s Day.

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty range from R150-R220 (R120-R170 pensioners and children).

Book for all 2016 shows at Computicket: www.computicket.co.za. For block bookings and exciting Early Bird specials contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places via email at editor.goingplacessa@gmail.com, or 0832502690. Until March 31, you can book 10 seats and get them for the price of 8, for any show in any price range.

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