Applause for KickstArt’s celebration of Sondheim

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From left: Puppeteer Brandon Moulder with Milky White the cow, Jack (Graeme Wicks), the Baker’s Wife (Jessica Sole) and The Baker (Bryan Hiles). Photos: Val Adamson

DURBAN theatre company, KickstArt, walked away with three Naledi Awards in Johannesburg recently for their dark and brooding staging of Stephen Sondheim’s blood-drenched classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Meanwhile, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus in Durban, the company is hosting its first production of 2016, another iconic Stephen Sondheim production, the musical fairy tale parable for grown-ups: Into the Woods.

Sweeney Todd, which opened in Durban in 2014 and went on to be performed in Johannesburg last year and earlier this year in Cape Town, in association with Pieter Toerien, was awarded with three awards at the Naledis at the Lyric Theatre last week.

Steven Stead won best director of a musical/revue and the ever dependable and charming Jonathan Roxmouth won best performance in a musical (male) as the title character in the Johannesburg staging of the production. The musical also won the Joan Brickhill Award for best production of a musical, sponsored by Carolyn Steyn.

“Having our work recognised in this way on a national platform is hugely gratifying. It is especially fulfilling, knowing how rare and difficult a piece Sweeney Todd is, and knowing that we managed to pull it off, and how very significant the competition was. You don’t go up against a veteran like Janice Honeyman without a sense of humility!,” says Steven Stead.

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Charon Williams-Ros and Jonathan Roxmouth in Sweeney Todd.

Following the local and national success of Sweeney Todd, KickstArt opened their 2016 Durban programme with Into the Woods which runs until Sunday, May 1. Performances at at 7.30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at 2.30 pm on Saturday and 6 pm on Sunday.

Into the Woods is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the familiar plots of their most iconic stories and exploring the possible consequences of the characters’ wishes and dreams.

Staging this complex, rewarding, funny and profound production has long been on director Steven Stead’s wish-list, and now he and his creative collaborator, Greg King are realising a dream – to bring the first ever professional production to Durban.

Already this well-cast, thoughtful and beautifully-crafted production has received enthusiastic praise from critics and audiences alike.

Into the Woods is directed by Steven Stead, with musical direction by American musical theatre expert, Drew Rienstra, set design by Greg King, costume designs by Neil Stuart Harris, and lighting by Tina le Roux.

Book for all 2016 shows at Computicket: http://www.computicket.co.za. For block bookings contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places: editor.goingplacessa@gmail.com, or 083 250 2690.

Please note that despite its fairytale characters, Into the Woods is aimed at adult audiences, and is not suitable for young children. PG eight years old.

 

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