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Monday, October 1, 2018


(Straw Nzimande)

Something of a children’s theatre dream team? (Review by Keith Millar)

Script by Neil Coppen, direction by Bryan Hiles and performed by the very talented and versatile Straw Nzimande. Something of a children’s theatre dream team?

Well, if they aren’t regarded as that already they most certainly will be after this delightful, clever and magical production of Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junk Shop.

Playing at the Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre at 11h00 every day until October 5 this show is wonderful holiday entertainment for the youngsters and, for that matter, their parents and their grandparents.

Grandpa Grump is played by the hilarious Straw Nzimande, whose name aptly describes his build and makes him perfectly suited to a bit of over the top physical antics.

Grandpa lives in his magical junk shop which is cluttered with wild and wide selection of miscellaneous items, most of which prove to be props which individually, or assembled together become part of the story.

Grandpa has misplaced a ragdoll called Molly among the mess and, as it is his granddaughter’s birthday present, it is vital that he finds it.

It is suspected that the Broom Stick Dragon has kidnapped Molly, so Grandpa transforms himself into Supergrump – along with a pair of blue underpants, a checked tablecloth as a cape and a umbrella as a weapon, leads his audience on a mad-cap adventure to save her.

Along the way they meet crazy characters such as a sleepy Cuckoo in a Cuckoo Clock, a Dustbin Monster, a traumatised Goldfish, and a Smelly Sock Snake. They also take a trip to the moon in a hot air balloon before finally coming across the frightening Broom Stick Dragon.

However, with the help of the audience shouting “BOO!” he is able to scare the dragon away and so Molly the ragdoll is rescued.

Along with “Boos”, there is plenty of interaction with the children during the production. Other than being invited on stage as volunteers, they are taught an amusing washing machine song as dirty washing which is put into a tub “magically” comes out spotlessly clean.

The whacky puppet characters which take part in the production are mostly assembled on stage from the “junk” that lies about. Quite ingeniously created by Bryan Hiles.

As mentioned before, Straw Nzimande is a talented and versatile actor and he is an absolute delight in this role. He is charming, zany and very entertaining.

The reactions from the two youngsters who accompanied us to the production were “Ï loved every part of it”, “Amazing” and “The Broomstick Dragon was cool”.

To top it all off, there is a colouring-in completion for the kids after the show, run and judged by the Grandpa himself.

Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junk Shop will be on at the Durban Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, until October 5, 2018. Performances take place at 11h00 and the show running time is approximately 55 minutes. Snacks and juices will be on sale.

Tickets R60 pp booked via Computicket or by contacting Roland at 082 499 8636 or at – Keith Millar