The National Children’s Theatre produced Goggas a year or so back, a charming production which did well in Johannesburg with both adults and children alike. This year, with the help of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund , they are back with The Astounding Antics of Anthony Ant.
Imagine the joy of finding a “sequel” to this little tale by Pieter Scholtz, a professor of drama from KwaZulu Natal. In fact the story is even better than it was then (that nasty misuse of English which so disturbed me is not present) and the script is both funny and clever in ways which will appeal to mom and dad as well as to the little ones. The curious thing was that it was not written as part of the Gogga story at all. I’m also told that there are more plays from Professor Scholtz’ pen in the series as well as others which don’t feature Anthony Ant.
The plays feature some wonderful contemporary “Mzanzi” music and international hits from more than one era and the little ones (and doubtless many not so little ones) were caught up in the enthusiasm of the music directed by Lolly Somnez. The characters like Sybil-Ant, Mary-Ant and Arrog-Ant were fabulous, dressed as they were by Sarah Roberts, lit by Jane Gosnell and placed in a Stan Knight set. That’s a pretty impressive creative team directed by Francois Theron. No less impressive was the choreography by Shelly Adriaanzen.
The acting team featured Matthew Berry as Ant-hony, JT Medupe as Music-Ant, Noni Mkhonto as Assist-Ant, Phillip Schnetler as Ant-teek (yes, the character is very old), Chantal Stanfield as Sybil-Ant, Sean McGrath as Arrog-Ant, Suzaan Helberg as Mary-Ant and Kabelo Lethoba as Observe-Ant. Together they bring a message about acceptance, tolerance and love mixed up with resourcefulness and a bit of magic. There was absolutely nothing not to love. I had a fabulous time!
The run has been going since 17 March 2014 and it will continue until 4 May 2014. I saw it at an opening event at the National Children’s Theatre (NCT), 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown on 26 March 2014. For further information visit the website at http://www.nationalchildrenstheatre.org.za. The next production at the National Children’s Theatre will be Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical.