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NO matter how old you get, you can never forget your favourite fairy tale. And what’s more interesting is watching those beloved characters come to life in a theatre production.
So theatre-goers and the little ones will be glad to know that KickstArt will soon be bringing a new pantomime version of Jack and the Beanstalk to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
Written and directed by Steven Stead, this fun-filled family romp will feature talented Durban actor Rory booth, Jessica Sole, Darren King, Liesl Coppin, Peter Court, Shelley MacLean and Bryan Hiles.
As we all know, Jack and the Beanstalk is about a young boy (Jack) who trades his cow for some magic beans which grow into a beanstalk after he plants them.
Jack then climbs to the top of the beanstalk where he discovers the home of an evil giant whom he outwits and eventually kills, to live happily ever after.
Tonight caught up with Booth, who plays Jack. As always, Booth is friendly and easy-going.
Chatting about his first lead role by the multi-award winning KickstArt theatre company, Booth shares: “I’m really excited to have this role in the pantomime version and playing Jack is a dream come true. It’s my favourite fairy tale of all time.
“With regards to KickstArt, they are the most powerful theatre company in South Africa. Their productions have gone national and they tour the country.
“When it comes to a pantomime, every show has sold out, which is obviously a testament to the quality and power of work they have put out to the public.
“The pantomime is designed to amaze and dazzle and take the audience into a whole new world of fantasy and it’s a really magical experience.”
Jack fascinates Booth. As I chat to him, I can tell how excited he is to be part of this timeless fairy tale.
“Jack is not your average hero. Just as in the film Shrek, how Shrek explains to Donkey that onions have layers and ogres have layers.” Likewise, with Jack, there are many sides to him, a funny side and so on.
“Also, Jack’s best friend is his cow, Buttercup, so you can imagine what kind of person he is. He’s a not a hero like the prince. He is down to earth and very funny. He’s like the guy next door.”
Rehearsals haven’t begun yet, but Booth says the cast features the best of Durban’s actors: “I’ve worked with all of them before except Shelley MacLean. I think they all equally bring brilliance to the show.
“Each of them is coming with something special and it will make the production really memorable. So the show has very qualified and seasoned actors.
“And the best part about all of this is doing what I love, which is singing, acting and dancing. Also, when you’re working on stage, you actually believe that you’re in a beanstalk and in that world because the set is so amazing. It’s nice to step out and live someone else’s life and then come back to reality.”
Booth is a talented actor and has done numerous productions including the musical Can You Feel It?, the James Bond production Shaken Not Stirred and the Indian play Spice and Stuff, and he starred in the South African film, White Gold.
With so many successful productions under his belt, I asked how the experience differs from children’s theatre and if he finds it more challenging or easier working in a kids’ production.
“I would say children’s theatre is more difficult because most children have no filter. If they don’t like you, they’re going to say they don’t (laughs). Your job is to make them love you from the moment you walk on stage or it’s all downhill from there.”
Steering the conversation to Booth’s music career, he tells me that a bunch of his songs have been playlisted on East Coast Radio. He plans to release two singles during summer: “They’re called Make You Happy and I Could Be.
“My music is more pop and R&B, but I am venturing slowly into dance music.”
Besides keeping busy with his music, Booth will be doing a Halloween show at uShaka Marine World on October 26 and 27. You can also catch him on Lotus FM in a play titled Sunshine Mall. And he can be seen in a classical Indian dance, bhajan amrit, on Saturday at the Rajput Hall in Chatsworth.
Coming back to Jack and the Beanstalk, Booth says the show has something for everyone. It will capture the attention of the little ones and has some humour for the adults.
“Expect to be enthralled by witty comedy, an amazing set and special effects. There will be foot-stomping songs and awesome dance numbers.”
• Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from November 29 to January 5. Book at Computicket. For block bookings of 10 or more, or for sold performances and early- bird specials, contact Ailsa Windsor at 083 250 2690.