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Tuesday, June 20, 2017


(Belinda Henwood as evil Aunt Sponge, Bryan Hiles as James & Clare Mortimer as evil Aunt Spiker. Pic by Val Adamson)

Durban’s multi awarding winning production house, KickstArt, will present James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl for the July school holidays at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus.

Greg King directs and designs this magical reimagining of the well-loved, deliciously quirky children’s classic by Roald Dahl, about the young orphan, James, who has a remarkable adventure involving a giant peach and five eccentric giant insects.

James and the Giant Peach stars Bryan Hiles, Clare Mortimer, Peter Court, Belinda Henwood, Nhlakanipho Manqele and Lyle Buxton. There will be an original music-score by Durban band South Jersey Pom Poms to add to the madcap fun of this colourful entertainment!

At the centre of the story is a young English boy, James Henry Trotter, who is four years old and lives with his loving parents in a beautiful cottage by the sea in the south of England until his parents are killed by an escaped rhinoceros during a shopping trip to London. James enters into a magical giant peach while running away from his cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, and discovers a tunnel which leads to secret room inside the peach's seed. This is inhabited by five magically-altered human-sized talking garden bugs: a grasshopper, a centipede, an earthworm, a spider, and a ladybird. Their glorious larger-than-life adventure takes him across the world.

Written in 1961, the novel has had many incarnations over the years – with illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark, Lane Smith and most famously Quintin Blake. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1996. Due to the story’s offbeat and quirky content, it was regularly targeted by the authorities – and is no 56 on the American Library Association’s top 100 list of most frequently challenged books!

History suggests that Roald Dahl was going to have as the story’s centrepiece a cherry in the original draft, but it changed to a peach because a peach “is prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry.”

James and the Giant Peach is perfect July holiday entertainment for the entire family.

It runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from July 5 to 23 with performances at 14h30 from Tuesdays to Fridays; on Saturdays at 11h00 and 15h00 and Sundays at 14h30. No babes in arms or children under three. Book through Computicket: / 0861 915 8000 / Shoprite Checkers Money Market Counters. For enquiries for block bookings of 50 or more people / entire performances, contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places:, or 083 250 2690.

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