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Wednesday, September 11, 2019


I was impressed with the direction and the standard of performance as well as the energy and enthusiasm. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Two short plays form part of this year’s Durban University of Technology’s 9th Children’s Theatre Festival.

Both directed and written by Lee-Anne Naicker, these are Story-Time and Cinderella 4.0. They feature 48 first-year students and I was impressed with the direction and the standard of performance as well as the energy and enthusiasm.

There are some highly talented actors in this large cast and this gives me confidence in the future – one can only hope that the capacity to find theatre work in Durban has considerably improved by the time they graduate!

The plays are based on Naicker’s love of fairy tales. However, she acknowledges that times have changed and modern technology is a major focus of young people today. So her aim is, as she says: “To revisit gold old-fashioned tales as well as highlight technological advancements since the proverbial “good old days.”

Story-Time, which is presented in isiZulu and performed in colourful traditional outfits, mixes Hansel and Gretel as well as Little Red Riding Hood. The opening explodes with energy and a fascinating rendition of We Will Rock You performed to indigenous Zulu dance. The Pink Panther theme is also used to good effect!

What impressed me considerably with this production is the fact that Naicker is not versant in isiZulu but each actor translated his or her character’s dialogue. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the language is not good enough to be able to comment accurately but, judging from the audience’s responses, it all worked extremely well.

The next production was a very clever rendition of Cinderella 4.0 which is inspired by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and was co-written by Donna Steel with choreography by Rowin Munsamy.

It would spoil the delightful plot if I gave too much away but let me say that the fairytale is catapulted into the 21st century and its widespread technology. Here are a few hints – Cinderella’s broom is replaced by a vacuum cleaner; she gets to the ball in a driverless car; she doesn’t leave her slipper there but her cellphone. The scene where the Ugly Sisters try to claim ownership of the phone is hilarious, as they are eventually defeated by technology! There’s also a writer called Fakespeare and a Fairy Godmother called Fairy Googly-Mom.

Many of the actors alternate from performance to performance and I would strongly suggest theatre lovers support this production.

Shows take place as follows: tonight, Wednesday September 11, at 18h00 and September 13 at 12 noon and 18h00

Tickets R50 (R30 children). Block booking for 10 or more at R20 each. Contact details for bookings Winnie on 031 373 2194 or Lee-Anne 031 373 2711

The festival takes place at the Courtyard Theatre, Durban University of Technology on the Steve Biko Road, Ritson campus, Gate 6. – Caroline Smart