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RUNNING RIOT (article first published : 2002-05-17)

Bill Flynn and Paul Slabolepszy have toured several of their plays overseas. The last being Saturday Night At The Palace to the Old Vic in London as well as Ireland and Sweden. They are currently negotiating to take their latest hit production, Running Riot, on a World Tour to Australia, London, America and Canada during 2003 and 2004. This is the first time that a truly South African comedy/farce will be presented beyond our borders.

The play will star Flynn and Slabolepszy as well three overseas actors. The legendary comic duo are particularly excited at the prospect of presenting the show to thousands of South Africans living abroad who are crying out for product from their homeland.

A group of 25 touring American students recently saw Running Riot and loved the play. They said the show taught them more about what makes South Africans tick than weeks of touring ever could. During the last year, similar reactions have been voiced by other visitors including British, Australian, New Zealand, French, German and Japanese tourists.

An associate of Canadian impresario Ed Berman (who produced Palace in London) also saw Running Riot during its recent sold-out Cape Town season. His excitement at 600 people raising the roof with wave after wave of laughter led to the current negotiations.

The tour will start in Sydney, Australia in September 2003. An Australian co-producer is currently setting up The Sydney Opera House or the Seymour Theatre Centre as possible venues. The play will be updated and set in Sydney. Initially, it will feature three Australian actors performing opposite Bill and Paul. The South African and Australian actors will rehearse in Johannesburg in May next year. This will be followed by short seasons in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban before the production leaves for Sydney.

The process will be repeated in London, America and Canada. The action of the play will be set in the country in which it is being performed. Along with Flynn and Slabolepszy, the production will again feature three actors from those countries. Flynn, Slabolepszy and director Tim Plewman fly to Sydney towards the end of 2002 to hold auditions for the Australian first leg of the tour.

This will be the first time in more than ten years that a co-production combining artists from South Africa and other countries is being put together. Several major companies, both here and abroad, have already expressed interest in sponsoring the tour.

Running Riot is now playing at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre from April 5 to June 22. Book at Computicket.




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