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Thursday, December 8, 2016

SLEEPING BEAUTY



(Pic by Val Adamson)

A great show full of excellent performances, stunning costumes, splendid sets and strong technical support. (Review by Caroline Smart)

KickstArt's production of Sleeping Beauty – its 11th pantomime - marks another triumph for this top-notch production company. The acknowledgement of KickstArt’s ability to present splendid family pantomimes was evident from the moment the introduction music started, with the audience bursting into applause and cheering wildly.

They weren’t disappointed. Directed by Steven Stead and designed by Greg King, it’s a great show full of excellent performances, stunning costumes, splendid sets and strong technical support.

King’s design is inspired by the Disney film, Frozen, and the snowflake motif runs throughout the impressive d├ęcor, costumes and sets. Gloriously arrayed in a glittering outfit with a glorious pair of wings, Belinda Henwood sets the scene as the delightful fairy godmother, Celestina Sparkle.

Haylea Hounsom is charm itself as Princess Rose and Lyle Buxton is a perfect handsome prince. Carol Trench and Peter Court are a delight as the bossy Queen Dot and the doddery hard-of-hearing King Frotho. Bryan Hiles handles the role of the Sir Ninnyliver with comical aplomb and Katy Moore exudes scary dramatic energy as the evil Maleficent.

The knockabout slapstick and audience participation scenes are handled with hilarious skill by Darren King and Graeme Wicks as Nurse Nora Knickersnagger and Huckleby Hopscotch, the court jester. Dancers Evashnee Pillay, Leigh Meyer, Kirsty Ndawo and Tess Tjasink add to the enjoyment. Then there’s the puppet, Hobby the House Elf (voiced by Jailoshini Naidoo) and a gigantic dragon for the prince to slay.

Stead’s ever-solid direction means that the all-round standard of performance is excellent and King has allowed his imagination to run riot with fun costumes, the most riotous being Nurse Nora’s outfit adorned with teddy bears! The script – based on the traditional story of a princess being put under a spell to sleep for 100 years until she is awakened by the kiss of a prince – includes all the fun that you expect from pantomime with lots of amusing comments at the expense of personalities and events in the news today.

Janine Bennewith has created some slick choreography and the musical side of the show is in the safe hands of Musical Director Evan Roberts. Tina le Roux’s lighting design is highly effective, as always.

This is a delight for young and old, and one of the best ways to introduce children to the magic of theatre.

Sleeping Beauty runs until January 8, with performances from Tuesday to Sunday at 14h30 and evening performances on Friday at 19h00. There are no shows on a Monday. No performances Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.

Book for all 2016 shows at Computicket: www.computicket.co.za. For block bookings contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places: editor.goingplacessa@gmail.com, or 083 250 2690. – Caroline Smart