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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


(Robyn Hailey Wells)

Ideal entertainment for young ones during the holidays. (Review by Clinton Marius)

The list of actors who cut their drama teeth in productions staged by veteran actor/director Garth Anderson includes most of Durban’s top theatrical talent including Ben Voss, Greig Coetzee and Clare Mortimer. Joining this top-notch list of ‘graduates’ is Robyn Hailey Wells, who appears in Anderson’s latest offering, Tales from the Brothers Grimm, at the Amphitheatre in Durban’s Botanical Gardens.

Written and directed by Anderson, this children’s holiday treat strips away all use of set, props and tricks, relying solely on voice and movement to convey three of the Grimm’s most well-known tales: Ashpatel, Little Red Cap, and Rumpelstiltskin. In the age of Disney, where fairy tales are sanitized and stripped bare of any politically incorrect references, it is refreshing to see versions of these stories that align closely with the original versions.

It is difficult to hold the attention of an audience in the Amphitheatre, and even harder to be heard, but Hailey Wells does both with ease, putting in a high-energy, engaging performance. At the show I attended, the children were focused on the tales, and were clearly delighted at the opportunity to participate in the stories, shouting out the answers to questions and rushing forward to be part of the action. One enterprising little fellow gleefully volunteered his younger sister to play the big bad wolf, in a clear indication of what he really thinks of her.

At an hour, this is ideal entertainment for the young ones during the holidays. Tales from the Brothers Grimm runs daily at 11h00 at the Botanical Gardens Amphitheatre. Tickets R40 (R30 children) booked through The Actors Co-operative on 081 384 5706. Tickets available at the venue half an hour before each performance. Families may bring their own refreshments and are advised to bring cushions or blankets to sit on. – Clinton Marius