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Thursday, November 19, 2015


Adult panto moves to new venue but the fun is just as strong at Greyville Racecourse! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Come along boys and girls – older rather than younger – it’s time to have fun with adult panto nonsense again!

This year, the team has moved to a different venue as its normal space at The Zone forms part of Suncoast’s restructuring process. The 2015 production takes place at the Centenary Room in Greyville Racecourse.

Written and directed by Darren King, who comes up with some hilarious lines, Aladdin Grey Street sees panto stalwarts Anthony Stonier, Thomie Holtzhausen, Rowan Bartlett and Katy Moore pulling in the laughs – with anything that has a remote relationship to a double entendre used to the full! – accompanied by TQ Zondi and Mpilo ‘Straw’ Nzimande.

This year sees the addition of East Coast Radio personality Darren Maule as the Genie of the Lamp. His comfortable style of humour fits well with this zany bunch and if he’s missing from the curtain call, it’s probably because his radio show starts around dawn!

Aladdin Grey Street is set – well, you guessed right! – in an area of town that’s not exactly upmarket. Widow Twanky (Anthony “The Legs” Stonier) runs a laundry with the dodgy title of Blow Your Load Laundry. It’s run by Watch-Mi-Wanky, Thomie Holtzhausen as a deliciously sleazy customer services manager as well as a lot of other hilarious characters, particularly a chair dancer!

Oozing into the picture to upset their lives comes the Evil Sultana, a nice vigorous performance by Katy Moore – who intends to take over the entire Grey Street and control everybody in it. Don’t forget to boo and hiss her appearance in true pantomime style or she’ll give you a tongue-lashing!

Evil Sultana wants to be rich and powerful and rule the world. She has the opportunity to do this through her sweet-minded but hairily-challenged niece, the Princess Jasmine. Performing with his face covered with a veil so only his eyes can portray emotions, Rowan Bartlett is a pure delight.

Totally in love with Princess Jasmine is Aladdin played by TQ Zondi. One of the people who can aid him in the process of winning her is the Genie of the Ring played by Mpilo ‘Straw’ Nzimande. I have watched the growth of these two Pietermaritzburg-based actors with interest over the years and they impress each time I see them. There are some hilarious scenes with Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

As always, in the midst of all the nonsense, we get a chance to be reminded of Stonier’s musical ability and vocal power with a strong solo number. His rendering of Who Can I Turn To? was powerfully presented with the relevant pathos.

All credit to the management and technical team which includes the award-winning sound designer Megan Levy, for transferring to this new venue. Everything from the smallest piece of scenery and curtaining decor to lighting and sound equipment had to be carried up to the venue. A feat in itself.

Audience wise, it’s a comfortable space, set in three tiers and menus include pizzas to Greek-styled cuisine.

Aladdin Grey Street runs in the Centenary Room, Greyville Racecourse until December 30 with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 with extra shows on Saturdays at 14h00. The doors open 90 minutes early for dining.

There is a wide selection of dining options / corporate packages and a full bar service. Tickets range from R130 to R170. Booking is at Computicket. The show is rated PG 16

For all details and personalised party or charity bookings contact Ailsa on 083 250 2690 or – Caroline Smart

(DIRECTIONS TO THE CENTENARY ROOM: Drive in Gate 15 on Mitchell Crescent and drive through the golf course parking to the parking area next to the race track and park. Use the pedestrian tunnel to go under the race course. Walk under the grandstand to the lift, take the lift to the 3rd floor where you will arrive at the Centenary Room. There will be directional signage as well as ushers to guide you)