Young performers to set the stage alight in ‘Dream On: A Poppins Tale of Joseph’

Rory Booth plays Brenton from the Bluff in the YPP family show: Picture: Val Adamson.

Rory Booth plays Brenton from the Bluff in the YPP family show: Picture: Val Adamson.

Published Jul 3, 2024


One hundred and seventy youngsters, aged between 5 and 19 from more than 50 schools throughout KwaZulu-Natal, will take part in this year’s Young Performers Project (YPP).

As part of the initiative, they will feature in the jukebox production, “Dream On: A Poppins Tale of Joseph”, which will be staged at the Playhouse Theatre this weekend.

The YPP, which started in 2001, seeks to create opportunities for young performers to work on stage productions alongside professional artists by presenting an annual musical.

Some of the productions they have staged over the years include, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (2023), “Footloose” (2017), “School of Rock SA” (2008) and “Grease” (2003).

Led by musical director Des Govender, the production follows a young show director who is beside herself when she needs to create a production at the Playhouse, but all the best shows have been taken.

The kind cleaner, Brenton from the Bluff, played by Rory Booth, who has a penchant for show tunes himself, suggests that the the director summon Mary Poppins, who always has a solution for everything.

In flies the fictional and angelic nanny, played by Georgie Mabbett Kelly, with her children Jane and Michael as well as her trusted carpet bag, into which they all toss their ideas and inspiration.

A book of bugs and beetles, a piece of jewellery and an assortment of scripts are all mixed together, whereby Poppins magically reveals the perfect story.

“Everybody loved ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ so much last year that we wanted to include some of our favourite ‘Joseph’ numbers such as ‘Any Dream Will Do’, ‘Close Every Door’ and ‘Joseph’s Coat’ – but add some other great songs and dances too – especially for the girls.

“The solution was to create a jukebox musical using numbers from ‘Joseph’, ‘Prince of Egypt’ and ‘Les Mis’, and tunes by Elvis (Presley), the Beatles, the Bangles, Ben Rector, and others,” Govender explained.

“Dream On: A Poppins Tale of Joseph” is being directed by Daisy Spencer, who is also the choreographer.

The production team also includes choreography by Simone Mann, set design by Chris Taylor, costume design by Kathy Singery, lighting by Dylan Heath and sound by Anthony Govender.

Kyran Taylor, a first-year student at the International School of Performing Arts, reprises his role as Joseph.

For the second time, the cast includes primary school learners.

Historically, the YPP focused on high school learners, but last year the attraction of a live on stage massed children’s choir led to the decision to audition primary school learners to create two on-stage choirs of 55 children each, who alternate performances.

The cast jointly represents 50 schools across all locations, demographics and languages representing private, government, independent, rural, online and township schools as well as home-schooled individuals.

The production is suitable for those over the age of four.

Where: The Playhouse Opera Theatre in Durban Central.

When: From Saturday, July 6, to July 14.

Cost: Tickets range from R150- to R225 and can be purchased at Webtickets.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

This week is your last chance to watch KickstArt’s delightful family musical.

The production tells the story of Emperor Marcus the Third, a 14-year-old who is nervous about taking the throne.

Deciding that he can only gain confidence by dressing in the finest attire, Marcus commands his Royal Clothesmaker to fashion him in the most royal wardrobe.

Taking advantage of Marcus’ uncertainty and immaturity, a swindler promises to make magic clothes that are “invisible to fools, liars and anyone you should ignore”, for a large and hefty price.

Directed by Steven Stead, with magical designs by Greg King, musical direction by Roland Perold and fresh new orchestrations by Jaco Griessel, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” stars Daniel Anderson as Emperor Marcus, with Roland Perold as The Swindler.

Others in the cast are Marion Loudon (Deena, the Head of the Imperial Wardrobe), Lyle Buxton (William, the Emperor’s Chief Advisor), Mthokozisi Zulu (Arno, the Royal Stable Hand), Keryn Scott, Amahle Tembe and Roshanda Lewis, as villagers.

Where: The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KZN.

When: Runs until Sunday, July 7. Show times are 2.30pm on weekdays, 11am and 3pm on Saturdays, and 2.30pm on Sundays. No under 3’s are permitted.

Cost: Tickets start from R120 and are available from Webtickets.