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Wednesday, November 9, 2011


(Thomie Holtzhausen, Donnagh Roberts, Anthony Stonier, Daisy Spencer and Sean de Klerk with Mark Kay in front)

Annual adult panto the best ever! (Review by Caroline Smart)

In a week that has seen Aaron McIlroy surpass himself in his Aaron McIlroy @ Work comes another production which has raised the bar on its existence.

For the last 15 years, Sue Clarence Promotions have presented an adult panto where everything has a double entendre and the dialogue is often way beyond suggestive, but hilariously so.

Writer and director Darren King has done an excellent job with Alice in Wonderland which opened tonight at The Zone at Suncoast and features Anthony Stonier in top form. Also the musical director, Stonier has been in every one of the adult pantos and this year sees him in a glorious array of outfits and in good singing voice. He plays the sex-crazed Queen of Hearts who is so jealous of youth and beauty that she will not have another young maiden in the kingdom, and definitely not if she is beautiful.

Donnagh Roberts’ performance skills have grown considerably in the years she has been away from the Durban stage and she puts in an impressive performance as Alice. She is now a fine singer and her rendering of Total Eclipse of the Heart was memorable, particularly as she had to work against wild antics from the Queen and Jack, the Knave of Hearts!

As the latter, Marc Kay gains the audience's attention from the very start as the suave Hispanic storyteller who is very much under the Queen’s control. He generates much fun as Jack manoeuvres himself in and out of disastrous situations to save Alice, with whom he has fallen in love.

Thomie Holtzhausen is a hilarious ultra-stressed White Rabbit and an even funnier doped-up Rasta Caterpillar. The irrepressible Daisy Spencer puts her spunky energy to good use as the tea-addict Dora Mouse and a deliciously droll Cheshire Cat (from Chatsworth, nuh?). Sean de Klerk is endearing as the manic Mad Hatter and his scenes as Tweedledee to Dairy Spencer’s Tweedledum were pure joy to watch.

Two tinsel-clad tree trunks with various suggestive holes and protuberances placed either side of the stage in front of the curtains set the tone for the evening. The design is by Darren King and Bryan Hiles and lighting design by Tina le Roux.

Kevin Ellis and Gareth Greaves’ costumes very nearly steal the show. Ranging from the flamboyant elegance of the Queen’s glorious final outfit to the Mad Hatter’s mildly chaotic tea party outfit; Dora Mouse’s feathers and fluff to the Tweedle twins’ overalls, or Alice’s rosebud-trimmed dirndl to the outrageous sheath of the Caterpillar, they provide a triumph of performance value in their own right.

Alice in Wonderland runs until December 31 with booking at Computicket. For more information, block bookings or specials, contact Ailsa on or 083 250 2690. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (Sundays at 14h00). Doors open 90 minutes before the show for diners. Bring a picnic or order can be taken from Suncoast restaurants, with the meal being delivered to The Zone. There is a full bar available – don’t even think of bringing your own! Tickets R100 to R120 and tables seat eight. If you’re broadminded, this is perfect festive season entertainment! – Caroline Smart