A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WHAT’S UP AT THE SNEDDON? (article first published : 2006-02-16)

Two successful American musicals, an international hit comedy show reworked by a Durban playwright and a revival of Greg King's acclaimed production of Ben Elton's Popcorn are on the cards for Durban's Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, on the University of KwaZulu-Natal campus.

The musicals headed our way are Snoopy: The Musical and The Wiz.The Snoopy show - centring on the adventures of Charlie Brown's pet beagle in the long-running comic strip, Peanuts - is slated to slot in from April 3 to 30. Marking the directing debut of cabaret star Elzabé Zietsman, Snoopy: The Musical is a sequel to You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and stars Byron Olivato in the title role and Mortimer Williams as Charlie Brown. Lucy is played by Michelle Botha and the role of Snoopy's fluttering friend, Woodstock, is filled by Jeffrey Sebogodi. Also in the cast are Daniel de Lange as Linus, Natasja Jacobs as Peppermint Patty and Maggie Benedict as Sally. The whole gang sings and dances through this winning and wonderfully witty look at the ups and downs of life.

The Wiz, a funky revisiting of The Wizard of Oz story, is scheduled for a season from July 3 to 23 and will be presented by local teenagers who form part of the Unilever Young Performers, whose successes at the Sneddon include Oliver! and Grease. The Wiz will be produced and managed by Linda van der Veen of Snazzi Events, directed by Themi Venturas and vocally directed by Charon William Ros. It will be choreographed by Janet Hare and musical direction will be by Dawn Selby. Auditions will be held in April and will be advertised in newspapers and through schools, closer to the time.

Well worth diarising is Ladies' Night, at the Sneddon from November 6 to 26. "It's a comic play that has been translated into eight different languages, toured 20 countries, won numerous awards and wowed audiences around the world," says theatre manager Jackie Cunniffe. The focus is on five colourful, unemployed mechanics who, desperate to earn some extra bucks, decide to transform themselves into strippers. They then enlist the help of a street-smart dancer to show them the ropes and whip them into shape. Along the way, they learn a great deal about themselves.

"It's thanks to producer Anton Desi that Ladies' Night has finally reached our shores," says Cunniffe. "Born in South Africa, he has lived in New Zealand for many years. After seeing the New Zealand version of the play, he enlisted award-winning Durban playwright, John van de Ruit, to adapt the script for SA audiences." Director Maralin van Reenen views Ladies' Night as a slice of life that includes drama and comedy. "The comedy lies in how these men come to terms with presenting themselves as sexy - and revealing their vulnerabilities. What makes it refreshing and special is that it's all from the men's point of view."

Scheduled to take Durban by storm all over again is the punchy and satirical thriller, Popcorn, to run from May 1 to 21. Presented by Kickstart, designed and directed by Greg King, and starring Belinda Henwood and Michael Gritten, Popcorn explores movie violence.

Following the annual maintenance and spring-cleaning period, the Sneddon doors will re-open on February 21 with a double comedy feast. This comprises The Chilli Boy and Hoot, which was a hit on the 2005 Grahamstown festival fringe. Written and conceived by Geraldine Naidoo and performed by Matthew Ribnick, The Chilli Boy tells of an old Indian woman who is reincarnated as a white gangster from Boksburg. At the age of 30, the gangster has flashbacks from his previous life and issues of gender, race and identity play havoc with his mind.

Hoot, set for a run from March 7 to 19, is the new work from the creators of The Chilli Boy. It's about the colourful journey of a rich white man who loses everything and ends up becoming a mini-bus taxi driver. "The play is a cross-cultural comedy of epic proportions, focusing on a white man in an unfamiliar world. It boasts snappy dialogue, split-second character changes, strong physical acting and one man bringing a cast of 20-plus to life in a remarkable display of storytelling," says Cunniffe.

The ninth Time of the Writer festival runs at the hillside theatre from March 20 to 25. With its culturally diverse line-up of writers, it is set to deliver an exceptional platform for dialogue and exchange on wide-ranging subjects - from gender and social issues to political affairs, as well as providing insight into the motivations and processes behind the act of writing.

Another mid-year highlight at the Sneddon is the annual Durban International Film Festival, which runs from June 12 to 25.

Also headed for the Sneddon this year, for his umpteenth return season, is Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist. Catch him from July 24 to August 14.

The annual Jomba Contemporary Dance Experience, showcasing the best of local and international dance talent, follows from August 14 to 27.

More dance follows with the annual Latin American and ballroom dance showcase, Shall We Dance, which has slotted in an extra week of performances after its sold-out success last year. This show has been booked in from August 28 to September 10.

Aaron McIlroy is planning a new show at the Sneddon in September, after which the Poetry Africa festival runs from October 9 to 14. And a grand pantomime or family musical has been scheduled to run over the festive season and is now being finalised.

Watch this space! - Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart