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Monday, September 21, 2015


(Anthony Stonier & Darren King)
Entertaining performers who keep the energy and jokes flowing throughout the production. (Review by Keith Millar)

The annual Hilton Arts Festival, now in its 23rd year, serves as an important outlet for leading performers from across the country to showcase their talent. Among those on display this year were experienced Durban theatre luminaries Darren King and Anthony Stonier.

King and Stonier are performance all-rounders who have in their celebrated careers been involved in most aspects of the performing arts. However, one area where they have particularly excelled - and, in Durban, have cornered the market - is the art of being ugly.

Between them, they have over the years played nearly every pantomime ugly from Snow White’s evil stepmother to Jack In the Beanstalk’s wretched mother, and of course the ubiquitous ugly sisters in Cinderella.

It is these experiences that they used to create their amusing production The Art of Being Ugly. In a performance which takes camp to a whole new level they offer an off-the-wall  insight into what takes place in a theatre dressing room as two tetchy actors prepare to take to the stage for their 364th appearance as Cinderella’s ugly sisters.

As they apply their makeup, glue on their ridiculous eyelashes and sort through their bizarre wigs and costumes, they indulge in waspish backstage banter and irreverent in-house jibes.

They even find time to break into song and dance on a number of occasions. Included are I’m All Alone from Shrek, What Happened To My Part from Spamalot, Just a Couple of Sisters from Nunsense and Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand’s Enough is Enough.

Stonier and King are entertaining performers who keep the energy and jokes flowing throughout the production. They are at their best when performing the songs included in the show. Although dressed in outlandish drag costumes they display their first-rate singing talents.

The Art of Being Ugly was directed by Peter Court. It is an enjoyable, if somewhat indulgent, production which would be appreciated by fans of adult pantomime. – Keith Millar