Enter the triple threat
Having been delighting children for years, Rory Booth is in his first leadingman role
RORY Booth is what is known in theatre circles as a triple threat. He can sing, dance and act, and he can’t wait to show off those talents to audiences in Jack and the Beanstalk.
The family pantomime is being presented by Greg King and Steven Stead, of KickStArt Theatre Company, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZuluNatal Howard College campus, until January 5.
While the part of Jack might be Booth’s first lead role for KickStArt, he is no stranger to those who regularly attend these festiveseason treats.
In 2011, he delighted audiences as Zanzibar Jack in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, earning himself a best supporting actor nomination at the Durban Theatre Awards in the process; and last year he had theatre goers in stitches when he played Gaston’s bumbling sidekick, Lefou, in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
“I’m really excited,” Booth said, “but also a little nervous … it’s my first leadingman role. That said, it’s a nice one to have because Jack is pretty chilled. He’s a normal guy and very funny.”
Given that previous pantomimes and musicals have offered up a beautiful dragon ( Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood), a breathtaking carriage ( Cinderella) and roses that grow before your eyes ( Beauty and the Beast), theatre goers — myself included — can’t wait to see what surprises KickStArt has in store for the 2013/14 season.
Asked what audiences could expect this year, Booth would only reveal that Lyle Buxton is playing the giant and that Jack will have a cow on stage. As for the beanstalk, King has kept that a closely guarded secret.
Starring alongside Booth will be Jessica Sole, who plays Jack’s feisty love interest, Princess Jillian; Darren King as his longsuffering, eccentric mother, Flora Flatbroke; Liesl Coppin as his evil nemesis, Lady Perfidia Beastly; Shelley MacLean as the good fairy, Glissanda Goldenvox; and Peter Court and Bryan Hiles, who will be reprising their hilarious performances as the two incompetent crooks, Cecil and Claude, from Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.
Stead, who is directing the pantomime, said this year’s offering is a real adventure story, complete with boisterous chases, meddling baddies and great visual tricks that will appeal to boys, and a strong, independent princess, and lots of magic, for the girls.
Booth, who has been delighting children for years, starting with the Bob and Rob shows he created with Grant Jacobs, described being part of the KickStArt panto as “the best job an actor can have”.
“It’s magical,” he added, “you honestly feel like you’re in some kind of magical place … the style of pantos that we do here in Durban have such heart, so you can’t help walking out of one feeling good.
“Special effects aside, there is a great message that good triumphs over evil.” • Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban until January 5, 2014. Shows are at 2.30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and at 7 pm on Saturday evenings. Tickets can be booked at Computicket.
The theatrical magic will be aided by Tina le Roux’s awardwinning lighting design, musical direction from Evan Roberts and Charon Williams Ros, and choreography by Janine Bennewith.
And, fans can expect an eclectic mix of music, with interpretations of music by Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and some muchloved musicaltheatre numbers and big orchestral pieces. Rory Booth plays the title role in PHOTO: VAL ADAMSON
Jack and the Beanstalk • RORY Booth grew up in Isipingo, lived in Chatsworth and now calls Treasure Beach home. • His children’s theatre productions include: and • He has appeared in Shakespeare’s and the musical and a number of music revues, including and • His first dramatic role was in
earning him a nomination for best actor in a drama at the Durban Theatre Awards. He went on to play Boesman in the critically acclaimed at the Catalina Theatre. • Earlier this year, he took part in the Rainbow Young Performers production, where he played the sinister king in the allnew original musical
written and directed by awardwinning actors Charon Williams Ros and Peter Court. • In 2010, he won the Personality of the Year Award at the Durban Theatre Awards. • Away from the stage, Booth has also appeared on the big screen in the film,
and has recorded and released a number of singles, including
and which have been played on ECR and Lotus. • He is also a secondyear classical Indian dance student specialising in Kathak. He is currently under the instruction of Guru Manesh Maharaj of the Kala Darshan institute of Classical Music and Dance.
at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban.