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Saturday, December 5, 2020


(Tommy Kyd, Leah Mari, Anthony Stonier & Thomie Holtzhausen. Pic by Dzignco from Photobox Studio)

If you want some delicious fun, clever comedy, naughty jokes, great songs and all-round good entertainment, then don’t miss this one! (Review by Caroline Smart)

It’s Christmas – although it’s going to be a truly strange one this year, no thanks to Covid! - and it’s that time of the year when audiences who love a bit of naughty fun look forward to the adult panto.

This form of entertainment goes back to 1996, initially being performed in the Playhouse Cellar. A few years later, producer Sue Clarence took it over and moved it to Langoustine by the Sea. Unfortunately, that venue became unavailable and various other alternatives followed, with the productions landing up at Suncoast before renovations put this performance space out of action. After so many challenges, Clarence decided to retire but in 2016, Thomie Holtzhausen revived the genre to put it on at his nightclub venue at OnStage@Altitude in Greyville.

This year’s adult panto is titled Little Red … goes down in the woods! and is based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The young girl is asked by her mother to take a basket of goodies to her grandmother who lives in the woods. This is where she meets a big, bad wolf who appears very friendly but definitely has other ideas in mind.

However, this is adult panto so fans can expect the usual fun and nonsense with sexual innuendoes to the fore! Some subtle and others definitely not-so-subtle, but never offensive!

Skillfully directed by Darren King, the show is written by Thomie Holtzhausen who also appears as a rabbi and Little Red’s purple-haired mother who is highly anxious that her daughter needs to lose her virginity before she is too old!

(Bryan Hiles. Pic by Karen Campbell-Gillies))

The great cast is headed by Bryan Hiles as the woodcutter Phil McCravis and also acts as Narrator. Hiles is a splendid performer – he can sing, dance, act and fool around with much vigour and exuberance. His Phil McCravis is hilarious with his flamboyant red hair and ever-opening kilt! From his highly energetic opening number, Make Them Laugh to his duet You Are The Reason with Leah Mari, he’s a joy to watch.

A newcomer to adult panto and playing McCravis’ side-kick, Pornochio, is Tommy Kyd who is also the Big Bad Wolf. He sends up local politicians, Covid and anything else within reach with his humorous rendition of a parody of 500 Miles.

No adult pantomime would be the same without Anthony Stonier – this time in a very new role for him, that of Little Red’s grandmother. Alright, granny is very sophisticated and as always, impresses with her singing voice … and there doesn’t seem to be a single sign of ageing in the Stonier make-up with strong renditions of Nobody Does It Like Me and Winner Takes it All.

Another newcomer to the adult panto cast is the delightful and charming Leah Mari who has impressed me with her vocal growth over the years in the Young Performers musicals. Playing the newly sexually-awakened Little Red, she impresses with her strength and passion in numbers such as A Million Dreams and Holding Out For A Hero.

Set designer Keith Pellew has done a good job with the small space he has to work in, with movable side panels, steps and images of outside thorny branches reminding us that we are in the woods. Tommy Kyd’s varied costume designs include a hilarious outfit worn by Holtzhausen and Hiles’ wild Scottish look.

Little Red … goes down in the woods! runs until December 30, 2020, with shows from Wednesday to Saturday at 19h30. Tickets R150 booked through

Performances will be limited to 50 audience members in line with Covid regulations, and the venue is sanitised before and after each performance. The show can also be booked for end of year corporate events, with the same maximum seating capacity. Contact 064 476 9533.

Doors open at 18h00. A cash bar is available - patrons are most welcome to bring their own picnic basket/snacks.

No under 18s

Covid regulations will be strictly observed.

Onstage@Altitude is at 25 Silver Avenue, Greyville, and has ample and safe street parking with security guards on duty. – Caroline Smart