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THE FROG PRINCE (article first published : 2005-12-7)

There’s lots of fun awaiting youngsters and grown-ups alike at the Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf with The Frog Prince which is designed as a “partner production” for Jack and His Big Stalk, the adult pantomime that runs in the evening at the same venue.

Peter Court has adapted The Frog Prince from the classic fairy tale and given it a healthy contemporary twist. The cast includes Julia Clarence, Dean Roberts, Marc Kay and Rowan Bartlett. Told as a play within a play where the actors are free to offer caustic comment on the action, The Frog Prince uses puppets and masks to add to the visual impact.

Rowan Bartlett, who received a Durban Theatre Awards recognition as Supporting Actor in a Musical Theatre or Music Revue for his performance in Aladdin Trouble once again holds sway, just as he does in Jack and His Big Stalk.

He is closely followed by Dean Roberts, the “cool” member of the team who also plays a fairly “far-out” fairy in a silver coat curiously adorned with moons. The interaction between them is highly amusing, particularly when they sit back to watch progress from the comfort of two camper chairs.

There are lots of amusing references to other family productions on the local theatre circuit but the one that I enjoyed most was Dean’s expressed dismay at not being in The Sound of Music because he’d always wanted to “play a hill”( work it out!) Dean nearly steals a scene later on as a masked footman who is asleep on his feet!

Handling much of the storyline is Julia Clarence as the pouty and elegantly-dressed princess and Marc Kay the pop-eyed frog (before he becomes a prince). The tropical island set, which was actually designed for Jack and His Big Stalk, looks chaotic for most of the time as props are hung all over the “sand dunes” and a deliberately failed magic act sends an entire table setting all over the floor!

The 45-minute show runs without interval and there are performances daily at 11h00 (except Mondays) from December 6 to 24. Tickets R40 which includes a festive goodie bag and a boat ride. Bookings through Liesl or Janice on 031 305 6889. Block bookings discounts and charity fundraisers through Glenda on 031 305 7612. – Caroline Smart




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