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Wednesday, November 5, 2008


(Pic: Junaid Cassimjee and Justine Aboud(

Usual adult panto fun and nonsense at new venue in Greyville. (Review by Caroline Smart)

With cleverly placed fairly lights effecting a lower ceiling, and a proper stage with curtains, backdrops and drapes, St Mary’s Hall in Greyville has been transformed into The Boho for the 12th annual adult panto – a genre which has become entrenched as standard festive season fare in Durban.

Not to be confused with traditional family pantomime, the latest offering is Sleeping Beauty … and that Little Prick which builds on the tried and tested formula of the genre since its early days in the now defunct Playhouse Cellar. The show sees much-loved adult panto stalwarts Anthony Stonier and Peter Court perform an evening of hilariously-dressed fun and nonsense alongside Rowan Bartlett (next oldest in this genre) and comparative newcomer Sean de Klerk.

Sleeping Beauty sees the welcome appearance of two new adult panto “babies” in the forms of Justine Aboud and Junaid Cassimjee.

For the uninitiated, Sleeping Beauty is the tale of a young princess who has been cursed from birth to prick her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday, after which she sleeps for a hundred years until the kiss of her one true love breaks the spell. Of course, when turned into an adult pantomime, the storyline gets a bit skewed, the sexual innuendos whiz by at great speed and extravagant behaviour is the order of the day. This year, the cast has wonderful material to lampoon with the new street names! To prove they can actually act and sing amid all the tomfoolery, they also offer a well-presented line-up of songs.

Expect to hear When You’ve Got It, Flaunt it; I Sing the Songs; Where is Love; Only You; As Long as He needs Me and others.

Anthony Stonier has written and directed the show and is also in charge of music direction. The highlight for me was a very clever and entertaining musical romp over a hundred years (to cover Sleeping Beauty’s sleep period!) featuring hit tunes of the times. It is an impressive feat of song selection, choice of phrasing (Anthony) and musical arrangement by Tim Pullen.

With what amounts to over 50 years of stage experience between them, Anthony as the elegant sozzled Bad Fairy (Miss Begotten) and Peter as a delightful Court Jester (Bladder) are a supremely tough act to follow. And after this evening - when he reminded audiences what a good dancer he is – I intend to nag Peter to do a production where his skill can be seen to good advantage.

Then there’s Rowan, who is as outrageous as ever as the Good Fairy (Miss Carriage) and flaunts his ample size with gusto as well as Sean with his mercurial antics as the jittery House Elf (Nobby). So it is to Justine and Junaid’s credit that they more than hold their own in this mild chaos as the young lovers!

As the kugel-accented princess with a braying laugh, Justine is highly amusing and Junaid is a solid princely foil for her eccentricity. Their rendition of You Are Woman, I am Man was most amusing. However, both actors need to improve their breathing skills so that they don’t break musical phrases and disturb the sense of the lyrics.

Efficiently air-conditioned, The Boho remains a supper theatre venue for the duration of the show until December 31, offering tables of eight or 10. Catering is by Beanbag Bohemia but there is an option of a non-dining ticket. Meal begins at 18h30, with the show at 20h00. Sundays will be a lunch followed by a matinee. On offer is a global antipasta mezze for starters followed by a choice of Roast lamb shank tangine, Aubergine rotolo or Chicken & Field mushroom served on spaghetti. The servings are generous but I would suggest a less liberal helping of polenta for the lamb. The Aubergine rotolo (vegetarian) seemed to have topped the popularity list. Cheese cake dessert is optional at an additional R25.

I hope that numerous problems experienced tonight with unavailability of standard drinks and general inefficiency of service will be rectified in the immediate future.

Booking is through Computicket / cash at the door and special discounts apply on Tuesdays and Sundays only. Enquiries to Ailsa on 083 250 2690. the Boho is situated next door to Bean Bag Bohemia in Windermere Road

"Sleeping Beauty … and that Little Prick" is the ideal festive season office party and is perfect for client entertainment with a range of packages offered. NB: This show is for adult audiences only…! - Caroline Smart