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MARVELLOUS MIXTURES (article first published : 2001-12-13)

What comes out as the most notable aspect of Marvellous Mixtures, an amusing tale for children currently running at Kwasuka Theatre, is the fact that Neil Coppen has a good flair for writing amusing and fresh dialogue to delight the younger set.

This production is loosely inspired by a popular Roald Dahl story and has been performed to over 5,000 children of all ages around South Africa. It is also directed by Neil Coppen who performs the madcap adventure with Kasia Stempowski.

The narration is in the hands of two thigh-slapping bergie chickens clad in gumboots, overalls and safety helmets topped with chicken heads. We are on a small Karoo farm in the heart of nowhere and the chickens belong to the parents of a young boy named Matthew who always seems to be in trouble. One of the main sources of irritation is his granny, Ouma "Lemoen Lippe", until he fixes on an idea to lace her medicine. He makes wishes on a pumpkin seed but the results don’t exactly turn out the way he planned!

Although the pace is a trifle frenetic and could calm down to a gentle scurry, Neil and Kasia keep the audiences amused and entertained for this 50-minute production while easily engaging in spontaneous repartee with the more inter-active youngsters. Neil is hilarious as the bad-tempered grandmother and Kasia makes an endearing Matthew although she could do with a little more voice projection. Kwasuka’s acoustics are good but it’s still a fair distance to the back row.

The set comprises a couple of bales of hay, a ladder that becomes a windmill and a tinsel-wrapped bicycle wheel that artfully doubles as a wheelchair. The use of puppetry is effective and there are a fair number of props, leaving the stage looking pretty chaotic at the end!

Shows December 10 to 22 at 10h30 each morning (except Sundays) with an afternoon show on Saturdays. Kwasuka was originally designed with a strong focus on theatre for young people and provides a good ambience for shows of this nature. Scones and tea will be on sale in the courtyard before or after the shows. Marvellous Mixtures offers the ideal answer for Christmas parties for youngsters or fundraising functions.

More details from Margie on 083 251-9412. Early booking is essential through Computicket or at Kwasuka on 031 309-2236




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