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Friday, November 29, 2019

031 TEMPTATIONS: REVIEW


(Bryan Hiles, Philisiwe Ntintili, Darren King & Thomie Holtzhausen)

(“031 Temptations” is highly entertaining from start to finish but you need to go with an open mind. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Christmas is usually associated with pantomime and some 20 years ago, Durban added its bit with the creation of the Durban adult panto. These involve a complete send-up of the traditional style, adding humour only suitable for adult audiences and loaded with sexual innuendo!

When productions were in danger of coming to an end through the closure of the regular venue, actor and director Thomie Holtzhausen created a small intimate 80-seater space at Club Altitude in Silver Road which runs between Stamford Hill and Umgeni Roads.

This year, Holtzhausen has moved away from the adult pantomime fairy-tale norm. “The script has been captured by the fairy tale of the Rainbow Nation,” he explains. This allows him to poke outrageous fun at politicians, politics and news-breaking stories. The title 031 Temptations can be interpreted any way you like!

(Right: Anthony Stonier)

Apart from appearing in the show himself, he has assembled a great cast headed by well-known performers Darren King and Bryan Hiles who are making their debut at OnStage@Altitude, supported by Philisiwe Ntintili (who appeared in the last two adult pantos) and adult panto stalwart Anthony Stonier who makes a special appearance.

The show is set in the jungle kingdom of Azania. Surrounded by full-length curtains, the tiny stage is adorned with a comfortable couch and very little else.

The extravagant Queer Illa De Lill (King) is all out to discourage mixed race relationships and grabs the support of the young Afrikaner farmer Frik (Hiles) to pursue her cause. However, Frik throws the cat among the pigeons when he falls in love with Adele (Ntintili) and the relationship becomes serious. Inspector Paul Hawks (Holtzhausen) is on a mission to uncover crime and corruption in the kingdom and to discover who is dealing in fur … and to round off the show, the missing person (Stonier) makes his appearance.

The ever-youthful Hiles opens the show with his characteristic energy and magnetism, quickly getting the audience in the mood and giving a hilarious rundown of the story. His dance abilities are seen to great effect as is his capacity to change moods and accents.

Next we meet the lovely and excitable young Adele, played with charm by Ntintili, who is desperately looking for somebody to love and marry. She’s lost Anthony, the one person she has in mind and nobody seems to know where he is.

Making an impressive entrance in a striking costume, impossibly high heels and an even higher headdress, King controls the action with his usual command, strongly indicating that his character is not afraid of criticism with I Don’t Care. He handles the major number of the songs and my favourite was his rendition of Maybe This Time from Cabaret.

Apart from the Inspector, Holtzhausen also appears as the priest at the marriage ceremony and was delightful as the bored Eros trying to aim his love arrows at the young couple. He brings his popular Indian auntie, Tiger Lily, back to the show presenting an amusing dining experience which required the assistance of two helpful audience members.

The missing Anthony finally arrives and has the stage to himself as Stonier belts out numbers that he does so well, such as It’s My Life, Don’t Rain on My Parade and I Am What I Am.

The section of musical numbers includes I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Some Girls Will, You Can’t Hurry Love and the amusing pantomime regular, If I Were Not Upon The Stage …

031 Temptations is highly entertaining from start to finish but you need to go with an open mind. Sometimes the humour gets very crude but the cast members handle it with such aplomb that the audience doesn’t take offence.

031 Temptations runs until January 11 with performances from Wednesday to Saturday at 19h30. (Check Christmas and New Year dates closer to the time as there may be schedule changes)

Gather friends, family, colleagues and cronies – bring along a picnic basket (there is no restriction on the food being brought into the venue) and support the venue’s bar. Tables seat 8 and arrangements for bigger groups/tables can be made.

Tickets R150. Bookings or enquiries through Thomie Holtzhausen on 064 476 9533 or Quicket at https://www.quicket.co.za/events/88579-2019-adult-panto-031-temptations/#/schedules

OnStage@Altitude is situated in Silver Avenue, Stamford Hill. – Caroline Smart