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Tuesday, December 1, 2015


(Verne Rowin Munsamy & Shona Johnson. Pic by Val Adamson)

Youngsters of all ages, shapes and sizes, come to The Hex in Pietermaritzburg for some jolly surprises; for a merry morning of magic and mirth, with the Teeniest Tiniest Circus on Earth!

Roll up, roll up! The colourful children’s show, The Fantastical Flea Circus, heads for Pietermaritzburg for the first time, for a short season at UKZN’s Hexagon Theatre from December 8 to 12.

First staged in 2011 at the Catalina Theatre, this popular production scooped all awards in the Children’s Category at that year’s Durban Theatre Awards. Since then, the Small Top antics have been seen by thousands of delighted youngsters, playing at schools and venues throughout the province.

A jolly mix of song, dance, rhyming verse and clever tricks, The Fantastical Flea Circus is directed by award-winning writer Clinton Marius, creator of the much-loved radio soapie, Lollipop Lane, as well as the Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning comedy, B!*ch Stole My Doek.

The production stars the award-winning Shona Johnson as world renowned opera singer, Duchess De Nunu, and talented Durban actor Verne Rowin Munsamy as her travelling companion and professor of Fleaology.

Johnson teaches at the Helen O’ Grady Drama Academy in Durban, and runs her own company - AWEH! Theatre. The vivacious actress was previously seen in the smash hit, B!*ch Stole My Doek and her performance won her two awards at the 2015 Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. She has also appeared in ten other stage productions, including Reality Bytes, Beyond the Big Bangs, and PopCom.

Verne Rowin Munsamy, Artistic Director of the Catalina Theatre, and also of ScruffySession Productions, has written and directed numerous shows, including Reality Bytes and No Contest! He also appeared in the adult panto, Sinderfella, and the Bollywood musical, Consenting Silence.

Together, the duo present a merry band of fleas in an exciting line-up of circus acts, including a high-wire routine, a car race, a cannonball and bull’s-eye stunt, a high-dive act, a strong-o-mometer, and a disappearing hand trick.

“When writing this play, I wanted to create a piece for youngsters that would also entertain and amuse their parents and older siblings, so that the whole family could enjoy a theatre-outing together,” says Marius.

“Wonder-flea entertaining,” enthused The Daily News reviewer, Latoya Newman, while The Mercury’s Arts Editor, Billy Suter, found the show “BIG fun from tiny stars… flecked with fun rhyming verse and featuring some short songs … a charming way to fill an hour”.

The Fantastical Flea Circus runs from December 8 to 12 daily at 11h00 at the Hexagon Theatre on the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus. Tickets R80 booked through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers. For phone bookings, call 0861 915 8000, or book online at