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Sunday, July 5, 2009


Youngsters will be enthralled by the antics of A.A. Milne's well-loved characters. (Review by Janet Whelan)

Winnie the Pooh returns to the Playhouse Opera with a new season to delight audiences both young and old with the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their funny, lovable friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

The cast remains largely unchanged, although there are a few exceptions. Rowan Bartlett plays a suitably rotund and lovable Pooh Bear and Carol Trench has returned to Durban from Norway where she now lives to take up her role as his delightful side-kick Piglet with her characteristic little hops and skips. The lugubrious Eeyore is brilliantly played by Peter Court offset by the energetic and exuberant Tigger played by Michael Gritten. Anthony Stonier remains as the fussy rabbit but this year Marc Kay takes up the role of Owl and Liesel Coppin, Kanga, with Valentine Sterling-Court as Roo.

Daniel Botha (who alternated with Jamie Royal during the last season) plays Christopher Robin and carries the role well. Others in the cast who play a range of forest friends are Linsey and Katie Morris, Navitha Singh and Victoria Matter, all to be commended for their well-disciplined performances. Highlights include Christopher Robin dwarfed by a huge umbrella when Winnie the Pooh was pretending to be a rain cloud in order to reach a beehive for the honey he so loved and Piglet collapsing on the balloon intended as Eeyore's birthday present.

From the outset the youngsters in the audience were held captivated and I even saw one little girl crying at the interval when she thought it was all over!

In parts the music was too loud, drowning out the weaker voices and the very visible stage hands moving sets was a definite distraction. However, these will not be noticed by the youngsters who will be enthralled by the antics of A.A. Milne's well-loved characters.

Winnie the Pooh is presented by KickstArt in association with the Playhouse Company in the Playhouse Opera and runs until July 19 with performances from Tuesday to Sunday at 14h30 with an extra performance on Fridays at 19h00.

Book at Computicket and early booking is advisable. Tickets R80 - R100 (Children 3-12 years and pensioners R80). Don't miss it. - Janet Whelan