Play about Whoonga drug crisis wins big at 2016 Durban Theatre Awards


Ulwembu, a play which examines the Whoonga drug problem in KwaZulu-Natal, won five prizes at the Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. Photo: File

ULWEMBU, a play which tackles the serious consequences of the Whoonga (low grade heroin) drug problem in Durban, was one of the big winners at this year’s Mercury Durban Theatre Awards.

Over the course of 2015, award-winning playwright and director Neil Coppen (Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads and Animal Farm), actress Mpume Mtombeni, KwaMashu-based community-theatre group, The Big Brotherhood, and educational sociologist, Dylan McGarry, set about exploring the crisis.

The result of the two-year research/play-making process was a powerful new theatre production, which gave audiences the opportunity to walk in the shoes of users, dealers, police officers, social-workers and parents of drug users. Continue reading

Check out all the nominees in the 2016 The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards


The cast of KickStArt Theatre Company’s Into the Woods which is running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban. Photo: Val Adamson

KickStArt Theatre Company has been rewarded with 54 nominations in this year’s The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. The ceremony will be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus at 7.30pm on Monday, November 21. Continue reading

Applause for KickstArt’s celebration of Sondheim


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. Continue reading

Into the Woods is a wish come true


The cast of KickStArt Theatre Company’s Into the Woods which is running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban. Photo: Val Adamson

Review: Into The Woods – Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 

THERE is a saying ‘be careful what you wish for’, but I for one am extremely happy that my wish – that Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods would be staged in Durban one day – came true. Currently running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, KickStArt Theatre Company has again showed what can be achieved by ambitious dreamers and a dream cast and crew. Continue reading

It’s time to go Into the Woods with KickStArt


The cast of Into the Woods. Photo: Val Adamson

I remember sending a message to Steven Stead, artistic director of KickStArt Theatre Company, after seeing Disney’s film version of Into the Woods whether he had plans to do a stage version. He just said ‘watch this space’.

This week Durban theatregoers get to see Into the Woods on stage at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus from April 15 to May 1. I for one cannot wait to see Stephen Sondheim’s classic and I urge all my friends and family in Durban and Maritzburg to go and see it. Continue reading

Don’t miss Sweeney Todd at Montecasino

Jonathan Roxmouth stars in Sweeney Todd.

Jonathan Roxmouth stars in Sweeney Todd.

Pieter Toerien and KickstArt present Steven Sondheim’s iconic musical thriller Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre until November 29.

This dark 1979 Tony Award-winner for best musical features music and lyrics by Sondheim and is based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond.

The story centres on Sweeney Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker. He uses his new alias to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop after being wrongfully sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin.

After swearing vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart, Todd and Lovett plot a unique plan that helps them both and leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences.

Featuring sublime theatrics, a thrilling, chilling story, suspense, passion, deliciously dark humour, with a score and lyrics that have taken on iconic status, directed and designed by the award-winning KickstArt team of Steven Stead and Greg King, and starring Jonathan Roxmouth and Charon Williams-Ros, it doesn’t get any better than Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd!

Tickets cost R350, R250, R150 and R100. Booking is through Computicket at 011 340 8000 or Theatre Box Office at 011 511 1818.

Performances: Wednesday to Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm.