This past Sunday, 2 July 2017, my son and I were invited to the opening of “PUSS IN BOOTS”, the play, at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. Now I’ve been to Gold Reef City’s theme park before, but never had the pleasure of visiting the Lyric Theatre. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for both my son and I, and yet another wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with my son. Puss In Boots is KicksArts’ first Johannesburg performance, having previously already produced 12 sold-out, multi-award winning pantomimes in Durban over the past 14 years, is a must see for the family this winter school holiday season.
Puss in Boots is a fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless master. This 1695 tale by Charles Perrault was and continues to be popular among generations of children. In 2011 Dreamworks created an animated movie with Antonio Banderas playing the iconic cat.
This riveting production of Puss in Boots is directed by Steven Stead and Greg King who started KicksArt in 2004 and together have revived the tradition of pantomime in Durban. They have borrowed different aspects from the creative world to create their own version of this popular pantomime, setting it on a mystical, magical Caribbean island allowing for the Latin flavour and a polyglot of accents and cultures.
Ilse Klink plays Calypso Honeybunch if she looks familiar it may be from her time as Vanessa Booysens on Isidingo. She has a Naledi Award for her performance in the musical, Big Band Blast. Hosting a Jamaican accent, Calypso and her colourful yet stunning dress prepare the audience for what’s to come.
Sean Louw plays the role of Tom Marzipan and portrays this aloof, comical character so well. He studied Musical Theatre at Oakfields College in Pretoria and more recently completed a screen acting course at the International School of Screen Acting in London. Throughout his performance, he has the audience in stitches.
The extremely creative cat, Puss in Boots is performed by the talented Earl Gregory a Musical Theatre graduate from the Tshwane University of Technology and winner of a Naledi Award for Best Male Newcomer. Paying homage to the origins of this fairy tale and the movie by the same name, Earl speaks in a “Spanish” accent and successfully maintains it throughout his performance as Tom’s loyal cat.
Mother Marzipan was super entertaining. Played by Darren King originally from the UK. A versatile actor having appeared in dramas like Callum’s Will and musicals like the Wizard of Oz and The Jungle Book. By including so much typically, South African humour in his portrayal of Mother Marzipan, he had the audience laughing non-stop.
Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini plays the beautiful Princess Miranda who like most fairy tales, falls in love with our hero Tom Marzipan. Skilled in dance, singing and acting, she received a Durban Theatre Award for Best Newcomer for her performance in Sing it, Sista!
What would a fairy tale be without someone wicked? Michael Richard is Grimsby Withergood the evil shape-shifting goblin wizard. The cast is completed by Yamikani Mahaka Phiri as King Magnum. Zak Hendrikz is Tom’s macho and comical brother Tristan Marzipan and Caitlin Kilburn as Selina Swiftclaw.
A colourful production that’s entertaining and relevant to the South African audience. The adult humour fantastic and going by the “OMG” responses around me followed by a loud laugh, as a parent, you will love the show. Music choice was on point, as it had the audience singing along and my toddler dancing and totally relishing the moment.
If you’re looking for options to entertain your family this winter, Puss in Boots is a must see!
Puss in Boots is running at The Lyric, Gold Reef City 30th June to 23 July, Wednesdays at 14h30, Thursday and Friday at 19h30, Saturdays 14h30 and 19h30, Sundays at 11h00 and 16h00. Tickets are from R150 per person (no children under 3 years and no babies in arms) you can make a booking through Tsogo Sun Computicket.
Runtime about 2h05 with a 20-minute interval
Disclaimer: I received tickets to Puss in Boots. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.