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Thursday, December 13, 2018


(The Wedding scene. Pic by Val Adamson)

Acclaimed multi award-winning KickstArt, has done it again - produced a hugely entertaining pantomime which respects the tradition but brings it up to date. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The acclaimed multi award-winning Durban theatre company, KickstArt, has done it again - produced a hugely entertaining pantomime with the age-old story of Cinderella, skilfully combining all the traditional panto nonsense, knock-about comedy and audience participation with songs of today, cracks at current political and social issues – all performed by an excellent cast.

Director Steven Stead was bitten by the panto bug as a child when he saw a production at the Playhouse directed by the late John Moss and since he and designer Greg King joined up with KickstArt, he has pursued his dream to offer a pantomime each year since 2004. This is the perfect way to introduce children to theatre and open their eyes and minds to the magic of performances, sets, costumes, lighting, sound and special effects.

A KickstArt production invariably represents excellence in every aspect from well-chosen talented cast members, good choreography to the high quality of costume/set design and superb lighting and sound.

Cinderella, currently running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre is no different.

(Roshanda Lewis as Cinderella and Mthokozisi Zulu as Buttons. Pic by Val Adamson)

Stead’s script offers some delightfully poignant scenes among the comedy and mayhem. King’s sets are grand and expansive with a medieval look and his use of puppetry is a great asset to the show. Choreography is by Janine Bennewith with lighting design by Tina le Roux and sound design by Ross van Wyk. Musical director is Evan Roberts with Jason Bird as Assistant Musical Director. The costumiรจre is Shanthi Naidoo.

We all know that times are tough financially so a large cast is impractical. However, the cast of 11 carry the show with energy and passion and the opening night audience loved every minute!

Playing the leading role is Roshanda Lewis who makes an appealing and sincere Cinderella. The role of Prince Florian is taken by Nathan Kruger who gave a consistently strong performance. Lyle Buxton gave his usual engaging energy as Dandini, the Prince’s valet, and the velvet-voiced Anne Marie Clulow was a delight as the ditsy and forgetful Fairy Godmother.

(Bryan Hiles as Annie, Lyle Buxton as Dandini & Darren King as Cattie. Pic by Val Adamson)

As was to be expected, Darren King and Bryan Hiles generated most of the laughs as Cinderella’s horrendous stepsisters - Catalepsia “Cattie” Bankrupt (King) and Anaesthesia “Annie” Bankrupt (Hiles) who live in Bankruptcy Court. In memorably outrageous costumes, they played the quarrelsome duo with gusto which offered loads of fun to the youngsters in the audience.

The actor I enjoyed most was Mthokozisi Zulu who played the much put-upon Buttons. I have watched this actor’s growth with interest since he first moved into professional theatre and I was captivated by his performance.

Dancers also playing villagers, courtiers and fairies are Kirsty Ndawu, Katherine Anderson, Sanele Mzinyane and Tshediso Kabulu. Kabulu always impresses me and he is no different in this production with his highly focused dancing.

Along with standard panto numbers such as Let’s Pretend, One Finger, One Thumb … and Don't Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be, expect to hear numbers like The Shark Song, It’s Raining Men and My Guy.

Cinderella runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus until January 6, 2019.

Booking is open through Computicket outlets; telephonic bookings on 0861 915 8000, and online bookings at For schools’ performances, charity fundraisers or block bookings of 50 or more, contact KickstArt Theatre via email: - Caroline Smart