ROALD Dahl’s classic children’s tale, James and the Giant Peach, is being staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College campus, from July 5 to 23.
Brought to the stage by Durban’s multi-awarding-winning KickstArt Theatre Productions, the show promises to deliver plenty of fun in the school holidays.
Greg King directs and designs this reimagining of the story of a young orphan, James, who has a remarkable adventure involving a giant peach and five eccentric giant insects.
The play stars Bryan Hiles, Clare Mortimer, Peter Court, Belinda Henwood, Nhlakanipho Manqele and Lyle Buxton, and features an original music-score by Durban band South Jersey Pom Poms to add to the madcap fun of this colourful entertainment!
At the centre of events is a young English boy, James Henry Trotter, who is four years old and lives with his loving parents in a beautiful cottage by the sea in the south of England until his parents are killed by an escaped rhinoceros during a shopping trip to London.
James enters into a magical giant peach while running away from his cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, and discovers a tunnel, which leads to secret room inside the peach’s seed, inhabited by five magically altered human-sized, talking garden bugs: a grasshopper, a centipede, an earthworm, a spider, and a ladybird. Their glorious larger than life adventure takes him across the world.
Written in 1961, the novel has had many incarnations over the years – with illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark, Lane Smith and most famously Quintin Blake – and was adapted into a film of the same name in 1996.
Due to the story’s offbeat and quirky content, it regularly was targeted by the authorities – and is now 56th on the American Library Association’s top 100 list of most frequently challenged books!
History suggests that Roald Dahl was going to have as the story’s centrepiece a cherry in the original draft, but it changed to a peach because a peach “is prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry.”
Performances of James and the Giant Peach are at 2.30 pm from Tuesday to Friday, 11 am and 3 pm on Saturday and 2.30 pm on Sunday.
Tickets can be booked at Computicket. Please note: no babes in arms or children under three.