En­ter the triple threat

Hav­ing been de­light­ing chil­dren for years, Rory Booth is in his first lead­ing­man role

Weekend Witness - - Money - ESTELLE SINKINS

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.

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