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Sunday, November 27, 2016


(Thomie Holtzhausen, Kerry Lee McKibben, TQ Zondi. & Jaziel Vaugh’ann)

New supper theatre venue deserves strong support. (Review by Caroline Smart)

With the devastating news that the Barnyard Theatre at Gateway is to close its doors, Durban faces the loss of yet another theatre which seriously affects the performing arts community.

However, actor and writer Thomie Holtzhausen has created a new supper theatre venue which is extremely welcome news to embattled theatre practitioners.

This is Altitude and it is situated in Silver Avenue between Umgeni and Stamford Hill Roads. Not a great address one might argue but I have been there at various times of the day and night and have not felt unsafe. There is good secure parking around the venue which is situated on a corner (look for the ABSA ATM sign and the entrance is right there).

In response to the cancellation of the annual event by the adult panto team after 19 years, Holtzhausen (who appeared regularly in these productions) set about writing and directing one himself. It’s titled Once Upon a Fairy – Not the Adult Panto.

Jaziel Vaugh’ann (who also arranged the music) is the Evil Queen elegantly dressed in a variety of stylish costumes. Hailed by her son, Jack (Zondi) as Queen of Nkandla, she is driven by sexuality which leads to much send up of Jacob Zuma.

Often stealing the show with his sheer charm, Zondi plays a highly well-endowed young man who is looking for a bride. Jack has a long history of dating fairytale heroines – Goldilocks, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood, to name a few. But he’s dreaming of that special girl.

The special girl comes along in the form of pert and sassy Cindi Spitz (McKibben) from Brakpan with a snorty laugh who drives a bike and is looking for a prince. She’s looking for seven men because she doesn’t believe that one single man would have all the qualities she is looking for.

Holtzhausen appears in a number of characters from a jaded roué complete with long silvery scarf and top hat and a grey-haired Indian auntie.

The tiny stage has been effectively decorated with flowered creepers, a swing and a bench providing the only props. Sexual innuendos range from the clever and subtle to the totally outrageous. Please note this is definitely an adult panto – no children allowed!

It’s all there – what you would expect from this genre. Much fun and frolic, tunes that are well-presented and a cast that gives of their best. Whether you’ve been there, done that, got the adult panto T-shirt, as it were – I strongly urge readers to support this venue. It has great capacity to grow.

Once Upon A Fairy is being staged until January 15 at Altitude, 25 Silver Avenue, Durban with performances at 19h30 from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Patrons can bring along a picnic basket (excluding drinks) or pre-order a variety of snack baskets from the Skyy Café next door. Tickets R140 booked through or phone 064 476 9533 during office hours.

There is plenty of secure parking. The venue is easily accessible from Umgeni and Stamford Hill Roads; and patrons who want to prolong their night out will be able to enjoy the after-show bar and dance floor. For more information email – Caroline Smart