Puss in Boots panto comes to PE’s Little Theatre

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Bob Eveleigh writes: The Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society’s annual year-end pantomime returns to the Little Theatre.

Mark Farrow plays King Wally, with Leslie Speyers as the dame, Queen Wendolina, and Matthew Hamilton as the Page, Bobbie, in Puss in Boots, the end-of-year Pemads pantomime at the Little Theatre from Thursday, December 1. Photo: Simone Jeffrey
Mark Farrow plays King Wally, with Leslie Speyers as the dame, Queen Wendolina, and Matthew Hamilton as the Page, Bobbie, in Puss in Boots, the end-of-year Pemads pantomime at the Little Theatre from Thursday, December 1. Photo: Simone Jeffrey

It takes the shape of Charles Perrault’s classic fairytale about, as Pemads’ puts it in advance publicity, “the famous feline with a fondness for fancy footwear”.

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Yes, this year it is Puss in Boots, in an entertaining mix of song, dance and comedy written by Britain’s Ben Crocker.

From the producers of the Clover Showtime 2015 “Show of the Year” winning Snow White, Yolande and Mark Farrow (Mark also plays King Wally the Once in the show), this should again delight audiences of all ages.

Richard Campbell is the musical director while Lauren Volker makes her Little Theatre debut as choreographer.

The cast ranges in age from 7 to 70 with the engaging Sikho Gaika, who impressed, to Showtime award-winning effect, as Buttons in Cinderella in 2013 and in the 2014 Clover Showtime revue, ‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvellous, filling the title role.

The Royal Family is led by the inimitable PE theatre veteran Leslie Speyers, in his first outing as a pantomime Dame, playing the very colourful Queen Wendolina, who is wed to King Wally.

The role of Princess Esmerelda, their daughter, is played by Abi Ranwell, with Matthew Hamilton as Bobbie, the Royal Page.

Thomas Pearson is Puss’s best friend, Jack, with the physically disparate James van der Merwe and Ian Storm as his brothers, Jasper and Jethro, who are keen on village girls Babs and Betty, played by Kerry-Lee Jeffrey and Lois Felix.

Burly newcomer Carel van der Merwe plays the villain of the piece, the Ogre Grimgrab

With a large chorus, as always, on-stage, the audience will also play a vital role at each performance, cheering the Good Fairy, played by Vanessa Smith, booing the Bad Fairy, in the person of Anke Staphorst, and warning all and sundry to “look behind them”.

Puss in Boots guarantees end-of-year fun for everyone and the season will open on Thursday, December 1, at 7.30pm, followed by the usual Pemads Patrons Night the next evening.

Thereafter the show runs to December 17, with shows nightly at 7.30pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and matinees on Saturdays, December 10 and 17, at 2.30pm.

It should be noted that exchange of company sold vouchers (at the reduced price of R70.00) and membership card bookings may only be done at the PE Opera House box office of Computicket.

Otherwise booking – at R80.00 per seat – may be done at all Computicket outlets.

 

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