School holiday fare: Prokofiev’s classic tale

Peter and the Wolf at the National Children’s Theatre until 18th April 

A specially constructed outdoor stage, a superb cast of 4 talented actors, a much loved story told by a narrator and  various props; and a wonderful creative retelling of this story: with school holidays coming up Peter and the Wolf at the National Children’s Theatre [NCT] is a MUST SEE for parents, carers and young kids.   

Lockdown devastation for the creative industries  

Like all creative industries, theatre and all those linked to theatrical productions, have suffered too terribly from Covid Lockdown. And the National Children’s Theatre is foremost amongst them. Their productions are always superb – thought-provoking, highly creative with minimal resources, educative while being engaging and interactive.   During the initial strict Lockdown of levels 5 and 4, I yearned for gallery visits, music events and theatre performances and all the possibilities these held both for myself as an adult and for me and my grandsons on our “cultural expeditions”. Having missed the NCT’s production of Fantastic Mr Fox,  I was determined not to miss Daniel Geddes’ production of Peter and the Wolf

The National Children’s Theatre


National Children’s Theatre Parktown A heritage building

NCT began as the non-profit Johannesburg Youth Theatre Trust. When Joyce  Levinsohn became Executive Director in 1990, she took it to new heights as the  NCT.  Run out of two historic homes in Parktown, one house has been adapted as an administration and theatre venue seating 55 adults on chairs and 50 kids on cushions in front of the stage, and the other has rooms for rehearsals, workshops, storage and a small intimate theatre space for younger kids.   When not under Social Distancing conditions, the theatre offers workshops, school tours, holiday camps, life skills and outreach programmes, educational theatre work. 

Outdoor venue

Socially distanced audience with the outdoor stage

Since the onset of COVID-19 and the national lockdown, all indoor theatre shows have been put on hold but the beautiful outdoor theatre provides a wonderful safe venue allowing for social distancing and strict Covid protocols. 

The telling of Peter and the Wolf 

Harry Faulkner plays the school kid Peter as well as the main character with the same name in the story; Sandi Dlangalala plays the cat, the hunter and the conductor. Abby Molz plays the school kid Nozi, the duck, and makes the most wonderful grumpy Grandfather. She shares the role of the wolf with Harry Faulkner. Ashleigh Butcher plays the school kid Alex and the bird.

In the latest play, 3 teenagers have to tidy a storeroom as part of their detention after school. They discover a book which they start to read. And as each character is mentioned, so the relevant  musical instrument prop comes to life (piped music).  It turns out that the book belongs to the  conductor but that he has never been able to finish Prokofiev’s entire tale as he is so nervous of the wolf. This of course allows for  a wonderful dramatic conceit as, when things get scary, the wolf character switches back to teenager character to reassure the conductor that the wolf is not ‘real’, but only part of a story. A comfort for the younger kids! 

Peter’s bassoon playing represents the old Grandpa played by the school kid Nozi and the actual actor Abby Molz

Peter and the Wolf runs until 18th April. There are 2 performances a day from Thursday to Sunday 9.30-10.30 am and 4-5 pm. Tickets can be booked through Quicket  and while costs do mount up at R120 a ticket for children and adults alike, the production makes it so worthwhile. Plus the National Children’s theatre is an institution which is really worth supporting. 

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