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Sunday, December 8, 2013


(Rowan Bartlett, Thomie Holtzhausen, Anthony Stonier, Katy Moore and Jacobus van Heerden with Clinton Small kneeling. Pic by Val Adamson)

Adult panto returns at full tilt on effective scaffolding set. (Review by Caroline Smart)
This year at the Suncoast Zone, Sue Clarence Promotions’ adult panto returns at full tilt and has chosen to stay with the current Shakespearian theme of the festive season with the Playhouse Company presenting West Side Story which is based on the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet.

Under the scripting, choreography and direction of Darren King - and with the tongue-in-cheek title of Romeo and Juliet- an East Coast Story - the latest panto is set in the rock ’n roll era of the late 50’s with the two warring factions coming from ‘Toti and Umhlanga!

Bryan Hiles and Darren King have created a effective set of scaffolding with an upper area but it is the backdrop that provides amusement. A jumble of new and old street names, the word “SUTCLIFFE” is emblazoned across the middle, making its own sardonic statement. Out-of-towners, however, will need an explanation so that they can appreciate the irony. A poster stating “Addington Hospital Family Planning … Use Rear Entrance” gives you an idea of the kind of humour to come.

Narrating the show in rhyme is Rowan Bartlett in his role as Chubby from Chubby Security. My apologies to him for disrupting his opening speech when my chair broke and I ended up in a noisy and undignified heap on the floor!

Headlining the production as always is Anthony Stonier – he of the much talked-about legs - as Anita, the shop girl from Garlicks department store (remember them?). Glamorous and impeccably presented, he takes the role of the traditional pantomime dame. He is also the musical director and has been in every adult panto in numerous guises since its inception. In this production, he shares costume design with Darren King, assisted by Dee Small.

Shakespeare’s two “star-crossed lovers” are played by Jacobus Van Heerden (Tony Romeo from Umhlanga) and Katy Moore (Maria Juliet from ‘Toti). They both have good voices and work well together – van Heerden endearing as a nerdish fellow and Moore entertaining as a feisty young woman eager to samples the delights of life ... and love!

As Tie Balt (Shakespeare’s Tybalt), Clinton Small is hilarious as a zonked surfer who resents Romeo’s attraction to his cousin. I loved Bartlett and Small’s version of Oh, Lord it’s Hard to be Humble. Another winner was Stonier’s I’m Still Here and the group number, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

Thomie Holtzhausen is hilarious as Juliet’s nanny and a befuddled ageing Indian matron (two difficult accents to master). He also shows much prowess in the dancing department. I took time to observe both Bartlett and Holtzhausen’s performances and reflect on how far they have come in terms of versatility, thanks to their involvement in these adult pantos. They just get better and better.

As always with this genre, be prepared for anything in the joke department. I wasn’t able to be at the opening night but agree with other reviewers that there seems to be a tendency to move away from the earlier clever gags towards more in-your-face ones and some are definitely way below the belt. 

Lighting and sound design is in the highly dependable hands of Tina Le Roux and Megan Levy.

Romeo and Juliet- an East Coast Story runs in The Zone at Suncoast Casino from November 12 to December 31 with shows Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (Sundays at 14h00). Tickets R150 booked through Computicket. Block bookings, party groups and enquiries – contact Ailsa on 083 250 2690 /

Doors open 90 minutes before for diners. Take your own picnic or purchase something from one of the many outlets at Suncoast. A full bar is available. Tables seat 8 people – so book a whole table, or make new friends! For corporate bookings of 26 tables or more, buffet menus on request. No under 16s. – Caroline Smart

PS: Apart from a stiff neck and a few bruises, I am fine, and a big thank-you to those who came to my rescue. However, I think Suncoast needs to take a good look at the quality of their chairs in this venue. If you think yours is a bit shaky, insist on having another chair stacked on top of it for safety!