Theatre review: Cinderella & FrikaDella, panto, Cape Town, South Africa. Nov to Dec 2020

What: Cinderella & FrikaDella Genre: Pantomime- family Age limit: From 3 years and up When: November 23 to December 17, 2020 Where: The Roxy Revue Bar, GrandWest Show times: Mondays to Sat 8pm and a 4pm matinee show on Sundays Tickets: R120 weekdays and R150 weekends Booking: Quicket  Director: Alistair Izobell Cast: Loukmaan Adams, Nur Abrahams, Nicoleen Saal, Daylin Sass, Cheswyn Ruiters and Ramaine Barreiro Musical director: Charlton Daniels Choreography: Rushney Ferguson Venue info: Doors open at 8pm and will be closed at 8.15pm when the curtain rises

Cinderella & FrikaDella was put together in weeks by All Star Entertainment – the production company headed up by Emo Adams and Olivia Gildenhuys. It is astounding what has been achieved- devised theatre – panto in a Cape Town frame of mind- with echoes of lockdown and the obsession with social media as a backdrop. I was blown away by the script (Alistair Izobell, Emo Adams and input from the company), zany characters, costumes, singing and dance.

The concept is a makeover of the Cinderella story with poor Cinders cleaning up after her awful family. She is the downtrodden domestic- clad in uniform and doek. The evil stepmother, Patricia D is on a mission to get her daughters to be top social media influencers. It is onwards to the campaign of the week – another makeup tutorial. Of course, it all ends happily and Cinderella’s talent trumps over Frikka and Della. Izobell’s script is clever and pulls in references to lockdown and includes a jab at Biden vs Trump. Instead of Cinderella dodging midnight as pumpkin time, there is curfew to avoid. We lapped it up. It is our story and we are in the story as we watch the clock to avoid lockdown level 1 curfew.

The panto taps into the social media frenzy in this crazy year- with the YouTube channels that we must all subscribe to and the tutorials we are being asked to sign up for and please can it just stop. Frikka and Della may not have talent but they have their mom, Patricia D to keep them in line. Alistair Izobell is performing as Patricia D until December 9, when Loukmaan Adams takes over. Izobell is fabulous in the role. The shoe scene is a scream.  

Ramaine Barreiro as the Fairy Godmother is a sensation- wonderful voice and imaging of a sassy fairy godmother. Barreiro reminds me of a mother or grandmother at a barmitzvah or batmitzvah in Johannesburg –dressed in a seriously bad taste bling outfit from The Oriental Plaza or from Hyde Park Corner (same-same). As they say in Yiddish, we plotzed watching Barreiro sitting on a fluffy white carpet, delivering her spiel and wanting everyone to be happy..

The entire company delivers a knockout show– dancing, singing, acting and terrific energy. Watch out for the hip-hop moves at the end. Loved the costumes – fluffy slippers- and Barreiro’s shoes and cross-body bag. They have pulled out a Kaapse panto in a year of being locked down.

Great to laugh and be entertained in a time when we are feeling on edge. No one knows what lies ahead but for now, mask on and we can have a jol at the theatre. With the surge of Covid in SA, we are all feeling anxious that another lockdown is a possibility. Do I feel anxious, going to the theatre? Yeah, I do. But, I feel much more on edge going to the supermarket, where there is no screening at door (temperature) and contact tracing. Every time, we venture out from home, we take a measured risk. After watching, Cinderella & FrikaDella, I felt a huge release. It is a fun show; clever, innovative and entertaining. Strict Covid screening at GrandWest- IDs taken – the whole story. Allow for an hour to get into the theatre. Masks must be worn in theatre.

Note: Emo Adams came up with the title. If you are not South African – a frikadel/frikadelle is a meatball.

❇ Image credit: Supplied.