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ACTORS CO-OPERATIVE IN BOTANIC GARDENS (article first published : 2007-07-21)

If you read this today (July 21) before10h00, then cancel the rest of your morning plans and head for Durban Botanic Gardens accompanied by all the children you can find, to catch the last performance of Garth Andersonís delicious The Princess and the Pea.

Director Garth Anderson is well known for his delightful plays for young people and The Princess and the Pea is no exception with a hard-working cast of four talented young actors acting alongside a group of puppets. Itís all about the young prince William from the Royal Kingdom of Sibaya who sets off round the world to look for the perfect princess and ends up coming home empty-handed! His parents urge him to invite all hopeful princesses to visit their palace where they will put them to the pea test because only a true princess with royal sensitive skin will feel the irritation of a pea underneath 20 mattresses!

Raeesa Abdul Karrim is the Royal Storyteller Scheherazade and plays a number of other characters including a delicious Japanese princess who daily life is decided by what she reads in fortune cookies! Rory Booth plays a flamboyant South American dancer with a name that goes on for a week and he also handles the forthright Queen Bess. Loyiso MacDonald plays King Godfrey and a hopping Masaai princess while Danville Ross handles the Prince puppet with much gallantry and humour.

Tickets R50 (R40 for under 12ís and pensioners). Performed just above the Curatorís Office (entrance in St Thomas Road) and follow the signs, the production is being presented in a different venue as the normal performing space is undergoing what promises to be an exciting transformation into the new Amphitheatre. You need to park in St Thomasís Road and go through that entrance.

After the show, I wandered over to the construction site of the new Amphitheatre and was really bowled over. I predict it will be one of Durbanís most favourite venues. I blithely asked a bemused construction worker to stand on the stage and talk to me so I could hear what the acoustics were like and they werenít bad, considering I wasnít listening to a trained actorís voice.

Garth Andersonís production of Shakespeareís Midsummer Nightís Dream will be the first production in the Amphitheatre and will feature well-known names such as Raeesa Abdul Karrim, Rory Booth, Sean de Klerk, Adam Dorť, Loyiso MacDonald and Danielle Perlman alongside Ben Bruzas, Rachel Bruzas, Alastair Coldwell, Kaina Govender, Mary Gunn, Danville Ross, Siobhan Schultz, NG Sithole, Jonathan Tifflin and Keely Wagner.

Directed by Garth Anderson, Midsummer Nightís Dream runs from September 10 to 29 from Mondays to Fridays at 18h00 (Saturdays at 14h00 and 18h00), Tickets R60 (R50 pensioners/children 12 and under) booked through 084 422 1422. Special rates and performances for schools.

During the Christmas holidays, Actorís Co-Operative & Shakespeare Incorporated will also present Krazy Kipling Kapers! in the Durban Botanic Gardens Amphitheatre with Raeesa Abdul Karrim, Rory Booth, Loyiso Macdonald and Danville Ross. There will be performances daily from Mondays to Saturdays at 11h00 with an extra performance on Saturdays at 14h00.

More information on The Actors Co-Operative on 084 422 1422. (Report by Caroline Smart)




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