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Thursday, December 7, 2017


(Dimple the Dromedary, Graeme Wicks & Bryan Hiles. Pic by Val Adamson)

KickstArt has triumphed yet again with its annual pantomime. (Review by Caroline Smart)

KickstArt has triumphed yet again with its annual pantomime, the 14th in an impressive list of productions in this genre. This year’s Sinbad the Sailor is a must-see for all ages. Excellent direction, design and choreography as well as great performances all round but there are some interesting changes and a really wow moment to do with a legendary bird!

Written and directed by Steven Stead and designed by Greg King, the unstoppable multi-award winning duo that never fails to produce excellent theatre, Sinbad the Sailor’s character names read like a pantomime in itself.

There’s Morgiana the Magnificent, sultana of Baghdad, played with ferocious gusto by Belinda Henwood. Sandile Mabaso is the Genie of the Seven Seas impressing with his singing ability. The governess, Ameena Labeeba, is played with style and humour by Marion Loudon. Then comes Bryan Hiles, putting in a fine performance in a new style of role for him – Dame Donna Kebab, while Graeme Wicks is deliciously dof as Silly Billy Souvlaki.

Staying within the realms of normality is Lyle Buxton as the handsome Sinbad and Amanda Kunene as a delightful and feisty Marina. Changing from his normal role as the pantomime dame, Darren King is splendidly grand as Long John Slither, the pirate king. Mthokozisi Zulu generated gales of laughter with his Mustapha Kitkat, Slither’s hyper-active bosun.

The hard-working dancers and supporting characters playing anything from citizens of Baghdad to the pirate king’s motley crew or temple acolytes are Kathryn Anderson, Kirsty Ndawo, Pavishen Paideya and Muvo Hlongwana.

This year sees a new choreographer in Evashnee Pillay who has presented top class movement sequences. The ever reliable Tina le Roux is on lighting design, musical supervision is in the capable hands of Jason Bird, with stand-out vocal arrangements by Evan Roberts. Sound design is by Ross van Wyk. Stead and King have designed the costumes which have been created by Shanthi Naidoo.

The story is drawn from the 1001 Arabian Nights and deals with Morgiana the Magnificent’s desire to take possession of The Pearl of Power. She manipulates, manoeuvres and commands but in the end she’s no match for truth and honour.

Expect beautiful and exotic costumes, a kaleidoscope of luxuriously coloured backdrops, hilarious puppetry (especially Dimple the dromedary) and very funny and clever dialogue with satirical jabs at newsmakers making news for the wrong reasons.

There is a line-up of enjoyable songs and a hilarious and highly skilled presentation of the standard panto number If I Were Not Upon the ... The movements in this number always pose a real challenge to performers – but in Sinbad, one mistake and you’re liable to get knocked out!

Sinbad the Sailor is a rollicking delicious romp which has the audience in stitches or gasping in amazement.

It runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until January 7, 2018. Performances Tuesday to Sunday at 14h30 with evening performances on Fridays at 19h00. No performances Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Tickets: R230/R180/R150 (R180/R160/R120 for children under 12 and pensioners). Special Preview and Schools Prices: R130 throughout.

Book for all 2017 shows at Computicket: / 0861 915 8000 / Shoprite Checkers Money Market Counters.  For more info, visit

Don’t miss it – take youngsters with you, if you don’t have any yourself, borrow some! – Caroline Smart