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Sunday, September 13, 2015


(Pauline Dalais, Musa Ntuli, Caitlin Kilburn, Shona Johnson, Caroline Smart & Sivanni Chinappan. Pic by Val Adamson)

The magic continues with There’s Something About Shirley, the third live theatrical recording series of the hit radio show, Lollipop Lane, which plays at Durban’s Catalina Theatre from September 25 to 27.

Clinton Marius’s record-breaking radio comedy, Lollipop Lane, which delighted thousands of fans for four years, continues its programme of serialized stage shows – bringing back to life the whacky gallery of folk from the block of flats where the lift doesn’t quite go to the top floor.

Following on from the show’s pilot staged production, Lollipop Lane - The Big Biscuit Bake-Off, which was seen at the Catalina last October, funding was secured from the National Arts Council (NAC), and the exciting venture continued recently with a second, and now a third production drawn from the popular radio show.

Scripted by Marius and directed by Caroline Smart, these are recorded before live audiences, and subsequently broadcast on Tape Aids for the Blind’s DSTV channel. Next up in the series is Lollipop Lane – There’s Something About Shirley.

“Since Lollipop Lane’s run on air ended in 2012, we have expanded the concept to be performed and recorded before a live audience. The first two productions were loads of fun, and I’m certain this third production will be just as well-received by audiences,” says its creator, Clinton Marius.

Where The Big Biscuit Bake-Off and The Beauty Spot focused on two highpoints of the radio comedy series, There’s Something About Shirley pokes fun at more of the show’s characters, and in particular, the orange-haired, tree-hugging, dolphin-whispering Shirley McDoodle.

The two bickering Mrs Singh’s, AKA Singh-Singh and Singh-Song, are also back, played by Pauline Dalais and Sivani Chinappan respectively. Fans can also look forward to meeting up with other popular personalities from the show, and will also have the opportunity to meet the cast and crew after each performance, and to purchase CD’s of the two previous shows.

Casting includes the talented Caitlin Kilburn, who heads the roster in her whacky role as Shirley. Other well-known names in the ensemble cast include audience favourite, Mpume Mthombeni, Musa Ntuli, Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning actress Shona Johnson, and radio veterans Caroline Smart and Tom Read.

“In the days of Springbok Radio, shows such as Men from the Ministry were recorded in front of an audience at the large M1 studio at SABC Durban, enabling the programmes to be enhanced by spontaneous ‘real’ laughter – as opposed to ‘canned’ laughter which is often added to radio and television comedies recorded in a studio environment. Those productions often toured. This is envisaged with Lollipop Lane as well, as our first two series of Lollipop Lane at the Catalina have proved that this form of entertainment is well received. For many, one of the highlights is to watch how sound effects are created – often by the most unrelated objects.

Lollipop Lane’s revival provides work for actors. It makes the show available for fundraising purposes, reaches a wider audience and ultimately benefits members of Tape Aids for the Blind,” Smart adds. “I’m also delighted to introduce the magic of radio theatre to a new generation of enthusiasts!”

Copy Dog Productions gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Arts Council in staging the current series of Lollipop Lane. Elza-Lynne Kruger, National Director of Tape Aids for the Blind, adds: “I am absolutely thrilled that the NAC has recognised the value of this project, and given us the capacity to take it forward. It will be of huge benefit to our blind members.”

Theatre goers who buy tickets to see Lollipop Lane – There’s Something About Shirley stand the chance of winning complimentary copies, following a lucky draw done at each performance, of the CD’s made from the previous two Lollipop Lane stage shows – The Big Biscuit Bake-Off and The Beauty Spot.

There’s Something About Shirley can be seen at the Catalina Theatre on September 25 and 26 at 20h00, with a on September 27 at 14h30. Tickets R80 (R70 pensioners and students) at Computicket outlets, telephonically on 0861 915 8000, or online at Early booking is advised