In the Limelight: Nikki Turner is thrilled to be back in the ambit of the stage – as writer and director -with Tales of a Big Bad Wolfat The Kalk Bay Theatre – December 2021

Nikki Turner – Cape Town based actress, writer, director and drama teacher

Latest project:  Tales of A Big Bad Wolf– children’s theatre at The Kalk Bay Theatre (on the premises of the Brass Bell)
When and times: December 11-24, 2021 at 10.30am
Direct booking link: Info: E-mail  

Who is afraid of the big bad wolf? Perhaps he is a decent dude. Who says that Cinderella must take flak from anyone? Chill. Tales of a Big Bad Wolf, written and directed by Nikki Turner, is on in Cape Town at the Kalk Bay Theatre, in the school holidays, December 11-24, 2021. For out -of -towners, the theatre is perched on the beach, situated at the Brass Bell Restaurant. Going to the beach and theatre- yeah, how cool is that. Not bad at all. Hello to the Cape Town Summer.

I was intrigued, when Nikki Turner contacted me about Tales of a Big Bad Wolf, a “twisted fairy tale” with a steam punk vibe. A great deal of care and attention has gone into this production. The musical score has been composed by Anton Luitingh. The cast features graduates from LAMTA [the Cape Town acting academy headed up by Luitingh and Duane Alexander.] I saw a headshot of Turner and the image pinged. Where had I seen her before? “Yes”, she told me, “you may recall me, once upon a time, when I did children’s theatre, when I was known as Nikki Louw.” Ahh, it all came back. I was flooded with flashbacks of Nikki in Rumpelstiltskin and other fairy tales. Now, as a drama teacher at a prestigious Cape Town school and mother of two daughters (9 and 12), she is well versed in the millennial milieu and images which resonate with youngsters.  

The origin story of Tales of a Big Bad Wolf began as a student production, in 1997, written by Keith Bain – a friend of Turner’s. They were studying drama at Stellenbosch University. Turner: “Anton  and I performed in the play at The Grahamstown Arts Festival [now The National Arts Festival, Makhanda] but  unfortunately the script was lost in the mists of time. I teach drama at Herschel. A few years back, I contacted Keith to ask if I could rewrite Tales of a Big Bad Wolf, based on his concept for my prep students. He very kindly agreed and so my version of this twisted fairy tale was born. When Vanessa Harris from Kalk Bay Theatre asked whether I’d be interested in putting on a kid’s show in the December holidays, I jumped at the chance to bring this story to the stage. I got in touch with Anton and he agreed to write the music for me. A group of his LAMTA students, who are graduating this December [2020], have been cast in the show. This will be the first professional production for most of them. They are a phenomenally talented group. I’m thrilled to be directing their professional debut. The story focuses on the big bad wolf, who sets out to prove that he doesn’t deserve his awful reputation. We meet a bunch of other fairy tale characters along the way, but they’re definitely not the ones you’re used to reading about. Red Riding Hood is a Fortnite addict whose granny is doing everything in her power to get rid of her. Cinderella has no time for any prince. As for the prince himself, well, he’s definitely no Prince Charming. With plenty of humour for older kids and adults, original songs and snappy dance routines, I hope it’s a show that appeals to the whole family. I have steered clear of the traditional fairy tale look. I think our kids spend so much time online these days where they are exposed to far edgier content. My girls love Gatcha Life and Anime cartoons, so the costume design for my show has a steam punk flavour. These are fairy tales with a twist and a bit of bite.”

Turner is thrilled to be back in the ambit of the stage – as writer and director. “I love kid’s theatre. I love the energy and warmth and the sheer magic -watching kids get swept away in a story. They believe in you; whole heartedly. Years ago, there was a little girl who saw me in Woolies. She started to cry. Why was Red Riding Hood there without her Cape? I told her I was hiding from the wolf and she cheered up- bless her little heart.”

But wait, there is more.  Hop on to twitter and you will see that Nikki Turner- with the handle- @nixwaxeslyrical –with over 11 thousand followers- impressive by SA standards. She is famous for her children’s fantasy book, The Vulture King [Available on this link from @BLKDOGBooks. https://] Hopefully some of her fans, will leave the cold in Europe and the USA and travel to Cape Town to watch Tales of a Big Bad Wolf. Bravo to Turner for writing, directing and producing a fully-kitted out children’s show, with original music, while we are still in Covid, in lockdown. It is an opportunity to get the small fry, away from their electronic devices; into the theatre, overlooking the beach, in the charming fishing village of Kalk Bay.

Tales of A Big Bad Wolf: Children’s theatre – will be on at The Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, December 2021.

✳ Featured image – Nikki Turner- supplied. Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn: