WOW! Puss in Boots lives up to KickstArt Theatre’s award-winning legacy. And I’m sure this production will get a few nods at the next Naledi Theatre Awards.
Hats off to writer and director Steven Stead for delivering a spellbinding pantomime. Of course, those plaudits are shared with Greg King for transforming the stage at The Lyric into a fairy tale wonderland.
The story takes place on the island of Esperanza, where an ogre is terrorising King Magnum, The Magnanimous (Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri) and his people.
So his daughter Princess Miranda (Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini) takes it upon herself to find a hero to save the kingdom. She crosses paths with Tom Marzipan (John Louw), a scatterbrained peasant boy, who falls head over heels for the princess.
Then there’s his Johnny Bravo-esque older brother, Tristram (Zak Hendrikz). While he’s all brawn and no brains, he is the favourite son of Mother Merry Marzipan (Darren King), who is the village baker.
Meanwhile, Grimsby Withergood (Michael Richard), an evil, shape-shifting goblin wizard, has sneakily ingratiated himself into the king’s counsel. And his sex-kitten of a cat, Selina Swiftclaw (Caitlin Kilburn), is the only one who is aware of his machiavellian plan to take over Esperanza.
Thankfully, Calypso Honeybunch (Ilse Klink), a good fairy with a Jamaican accent, has been keeping a close eye on things. And to help save the day, she transforms Tiddles, Tom’s pet cat, into Puss in Boots (Earl Gregory) to help his hapless master save the day.
I’ve always been a fan of TV actress Klink,and it is marvellous seeing her on stage. Aside from sprinkling such happiness with her role, she looks every inch a fairy.
Puss in Boots cast. Picture: Supplied
Gregory and King are just mind-blowing in their respective roles. Aside from his agility on stage, Gregory is wickedly charming with his Spanish enunciation and well-intentioned artfulness, underpinned with a smidgen of narcissism. And King, aside from working those heels like he was walking the ramp, is a hoot.
He has some of the best punchlines and is effortless in every scene – a marvel considering his hilarious outfits, which resemble baked goodies.
Dhlomo-Dlamini is engaging and delightfully spirited. And there’s a wonderful chemistry between her and Louw, who is adorably goofy.
The kids in the audience took to him immediately.
I loved the nuances Kilburn brought to her villainous character. And Richard oozed evil, even when “reluctantly” roped into the singing and dancing.
Kids will love the story and adults will love the hidden innuendos.
Puss in Boots. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips
That’s not forgetting the political jibes at the EFF, SABC and others.
The wonderfully choreographed song and dance scenes boast catchy tunes that will appeal to everyone.
A fun romp the entire family will enjoy.
* Puss in Boots is showing at the The Lyric Theater till July 23.