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Thursday, November 21, 2013


(Rowan Bartlett, Thomie Holtzhausen, Anthony Stonier. Katy Moore and Jacobus Van Heerden with Clinton Small in front)

Leave your inhibitions at home and take a wide open mind along with you! (Review by Keith Millar)

It is time again for Durban’s traditional festive season, adult pantomime. The story chosen for the treatment this year is not, as you would expect, a children’s fairy story, but rather the greatest love story of all time, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Well, I don’t expect Shakespeare will ever be the same again.

While Romeo and Juliet – An East Coast Story, which is written and directed by Darren King, is based on the Shakespeare classic it also borrows liberally from West Side Story, which is, of course, based on Romeo and Juliet. To this, King has added great dollops of ribald humour, whacky characters, and plenty of song and dance along with the usual pantomime audience participation. The result is a bawdy, sassy and camp rollercoaster of laughter.

The story is given a decidedly local flavour with the action taking place in Durban in 1958. Maria Juliet’s family comes from Amanzimtoti and Tony Romeo’s from Umhlanga Rocks. Needless to say, these two families are poles apart and don’t really approve of the relationship.

The leads are played by Jacobus Van Heerden and Katy Moore. They provide the eye candy and play a pair of sweet, virginal lovers with stars in their eyes. Their main ambition is to set up home together in Umbilo.

This sets the scene for the mad antics of the rest of the crazy cast. In the traditional pantomime dame role, this time a shop girl called Anita, is the irrepressible Anthony Stonier. He creates a beautifully slutty character as he swans about the stage in his glitzy costumes, with only one thing on his mind.

Anita’s love interest is Juliet’s cousin, macho man Tye Bolt played by Clinton Small. He is a Durban surfer dude who thinks he is irresistible to any woman. Something he sets out to prove to a few female audience members.

Thomie Holtzhausen is hilarious in the dual roles of Juliet’s nanny Gladys and an Indian lady by the name of Youseen. Holtzhausen is a natural clown and is visually very funny in these roles.

The final cast member is Mnr. Sakie De Kock who is a guard from Chubby Security (in Shakespeare?). In this role is Rowan Bartlett. He is the narrator who tells the story and ties everything together. He is also part of the uproarious and not very glamorous chorus line, along with Small and Holtzhausen. Their side-splitting performance in Yellow Polka Dot Bikini was particularly comical.

The cast sing a variety of songs during the show. Some of these are done half seriously but in most cases, new risqué lyrics have been provided. Some of the songs included are Downtown, Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble, Chantilly Lace, Going To The Chapel, Second Hand Rose, Why do Fools Fall In Love and Something. The obligatory audience sing along song is Chuck Berry’s My Ding-A-Ling.

Romeo and Juliet– an East Coast Story is produced by Sue Clarence Promotions. The skilled and talented technical team of Darren King, Anthony Stonier, Bryan Hiles, Dee Small, Tina Le Roux and Megan Levy all played their part in making sure that the production is visually very pleasing.

Durban’s adult pantomimes have been festive season favourites for many years and there is no reason why Romeo and Juliet – An East Coast Story should be any different. But, a warning! It is an adult show. Leave your inhibitions at home and take a wide open mind along with you.

Romeo and Juliet – an East Coast Story, is on at The Zone, Suncoast Casino until December 31. Shows on Tuesday to Saturday at 19h30 (Sundays at 14h00). Doors open 90 minutes before for diners. Bring a picnic or order from one of the many Suncoast Restaurants Full bar is available. Tickets are R150 at Computicket (no under 16’s allowed). For block bookings contact 083 250 2690. – Keith Millar