Photo: Val Adamson

THEY’VE just wrapped up a popular staging and world premiere of Robert Fridjhon’s Twitch in Durban, and the acclaimed KickstArt Theatre Productions are already about to hit the road running with a host of national tours.

This comes hot on the heels of the recent announcement that KickstArt’s production of Broadway hit Cabaret has received seven nominations for this year’s Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.

KickstArt’s Steven Stead described what looks set to be buzzing continuation of 2013 for the company.

Their next project – another coup – is the South African premiere of West End hit The Ladykillers. Following that is a revival of KickstArt’s multi-award-winning production of Shirley Valentine, starring Lisa Bobbert.

KickstArt wrapped up the year with a fun-filled family romp and new pantomime version of Jack and the Beanstalk.

KickstArt will also tour productions of Don’t Dress for Dinner, Venus in Fur and Twitch to Joburg and Cape Town in association with Pieter Toerien Productions.

Plans are also afoot for another South African premiere of the Broadway hit The Submission, which may open in Grahamstown, and then return to Durban.

Stead told Tonight that their relationship with Toerien began when he flew down to see their productions of Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan, and finally Cabaret, with a view to producing them in Joburg and Cape Town.

“It all fell into place with Cabaret, which was a huge box-office and critical success.

“This has lead to us working in closer collaboration, and actually planning work together in the future. But rest assured, we aren’t moving (out of Durban).

“It is easy and comfortable making shows in Durban and then exporting them.

“It would be far more difficult in other cities where we don’t have the connections or support.”

Stead said they had always found Joburg audiences ready to laugh, and Cape Town audiences ready to think.

“Generally, we have been affirmed by audience attendance and response in other cities... we can run shows four times as long as we can in Durban because there are so many more theatregoers in those cities.”

Commenting on what lies ahead now that Twitch has wrapped up in Durban, Stead said: “We are already two weeks into rehearsal for Don't Dress for Dinner in Johannesburg.

“The first six months of this year is full of this kind of dovetailing and city hopping – keeps us on our toes.”

KickstArt has provided a glimpse of what they have coming up this year:

• The Ladykillers: a classic black comedy about a sweet little old lady, alone in her house, who is pitted against a gang of criminal misfits who will stop at nothing. Directed by Steven Stead, The Ladykillers stars Charon Williams-Ros (Cabaret, Beauty and the Beast), Tim Wells (God of Carnage, Don’t Dress for Dinner), Iain “Ewok” Robinson, Cobus van Heerden, Peter Court and Lyle Buxton. It opened on the West End in 2011 and has enjoyed two sold-out, critically acclaimed seasons, and a current national tour and Broadway transfer. The show runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from May 23 to June 21.

• Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell, also runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, from September 11 to 22, starring Lisa Bobbert. Shirley Valentine is a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who finds herself talking to the wall while she prepares her husband’s chip ’n’ egg, wondering what happened to her life. But when her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to Greece for two, Shirley begins to see the world, and herself, in a different light.

• A new pantomime version of Jack and the Beanstalk, written and directed by Steven Stead, with Rory Booth in the title role. The cast also features Jessica Sole as his love interest, Princess Jillian; Darren King as his long-suffering, eccentric mother, Flora Flatbroke; Liesl Coppin as his evil nemesis, Lady Perfidia Beastly; and Shelley MacLean as the good fairy, Glissanda Goldenvox. Peter Court and Bryan Hiles – reprising their hilarious performances as the two incompetent crooks, Cecil and Claude – make a comeback after their demise in Robin Hood.

Jack and the Beanstalk ran from November 29 to January 5.

KickstArt will be touring productions of Don’t Dress for Dinner (at Montecasino Theatre, March 8 to April 14, and Theatre on the Bay (Cape Town), April 17 to May 11), Twitch (at Theatre on the Bay, May 15 to 31, and Montecasino, June 5 to July 14), and Venus in Fur (at Theatre on the Bay, June 4 to 23, and Montecasino Studio Theatre, July 17 to August 24).

• Book for all KickstArt productions at Computicket. For bookings of 10 or more, or sold performances and early-bird specials, contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places on 083 250 2690.