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Friday, November 5, 2010


(Pic: Rory Booth and Brendon Mendes)

Very enjoyable evening’s entertainment of a high standard. (Review by Caroline Smart)

“Special thanks to Hendrik Kay and Henry Koch for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime and for supplying Amanzimtoti and the South Coast with a true theatre and great entertainment”. Thus reads the acknowledgement from the production team of Carnival Time in the programme of this first show at the new Toti supper theatre venue.

Remember these names - Hendrik Kay and Henry Koch. They are set to make a difference in the world of local performing arts. Passionate about theatre, they have created a very pleasant and informal venue on one of the upper floors of Galleria Mall, Amanzimtoti. It has a Montecasino-type Tuscan feel of baroque versus mediaeval with its stone-flagged floor, simple chairs and long tables. It’s also a highly-valued new space on the local theatre circuit.

While the venue is still a work in progress with improvements to come, The House of Theatre offers a professional production on a proper stage with good technical equipment provided by Prosound and Mike Broderick has created some pleasing lighting effects.

The director, Charon Williams-Ros, and cast – not to mention the Solid Gold Band under the excellent leadership of Shemual Mahabeer – will be familiar to regular audiences at uShaka Marine World’s Upper Deck Restaurant.

Carnival Time is co-written by Charon Williams-Ross and Rory Booth, the latter heading the cast with the equally irrepressible Brendon Mendes. Together they bounce through a variety of adventures in their time travel capsule until eventually the call of home is too great. In the role of the female lead is Krystle Temmerman in excellent voice and I particularly liked her Oh So Quiet. Another name to watch is Samantha Landers who performed a pleasing La Vie en Rose with Thabani Gapara on sax.

In a variety of amusing guises, Bandile Hlophe (who is also the theatre manager) proved his versatility with accents, his genial nature endearing himself to the audience. Providing glitz and glamour in a number of dance sequences choreographed by Londiwe Dhlomo are Natalie Pam Dennis and Shelley Bothma. The attractive costumes are provided by Snazzi Solutions & Charon Williams-Ros.

I have to say that I think Carnival Time is a strange title – I would have thought a more appropriate one would have been something to do with musical time travel. However, there’s plenty of energetic spirit around as the intrepid duo set off to catch up with friends they made during the World Cup and find themselves teleported to diverse places. These range from China (Kung Fu Fighting) and Speakers Corner in Hyde Park London (Love Today) to the deserts of Saudi Arabia (Ahab the Arab) or the beaches of Jamaica (Pass de Dutchie). One of my favourites was Whose Bed have your Boots been Under?

It’s a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment of a high standard which I would urge you support, not the least because it heralds the arrival of a new theatre venue. Oh yes – and top marks for putting fresh flowers in the ladies toilets!

The House of Theatre seats 300 people on multiple levels and is designed to feature shows, accommodate functions and corporate events. A popular feature for smokers is the glass-enclosed smoking room, which allows patrons an uninterrupted view of the show. There is also a VIP lounge on the upper level.

Carnival Time runs until December 11 from Thursdays to Saturdays at 19h30 at the House of Theatre, Galleria Mall, Amanzimtoti. There is a cash bar but patrons should take their own snacks or support local restaurants situated in the Mall. Bookings on 072 412 6390 or 084 630 0868. – Caroline Smart

(Directions: Travel towards Amanzimtoti and you will pass the vast Galleria mall on your right before you exit the freeway. Turn right and then right again at the traffic lights which now sees you travelling alongside the mall. Clearer signs will be erected shortly but for now, follow the “Entertainment” level signs and then take the middle glide-off to enter the mall. The House of Theatre is situated on the floor below the topmost floor of Galleria. You don’t go inside the mall itself, the entrance to the theatre is gained from the rooftop parking area. From Spaghetti Junction, it’s about 25km and 15 minutes travelling time.)