Reps Theatre in conjunction with Spar Zimbabwe is currently showcasing the tale of Robinson Crusoe — the most famous shipwrecked man of all time — as theatre- goers get into the spirit of festive season.
Directed by Graham Crutchley, the well-known tale of Crusoe and his companion, Man Friday is taking on a series of fun panto storylines, making for a highly entertaining show in the build-up to Christmas.
“The production has been sponsored by Spar Zimbabwe with the aim of creating awareness and fundraising for Childline Zimbabwe,” said Reps marketing and publicity chairman Stan Higgins.
Higgins said pantomime was traditionally associated with Christmas entertainment and stories were usually adapted from children’s fairy tales and storybooks.
He said wild and wacky adaptations and fun characteristics of pantomime, such as having a man play the leading female character, made it more popular with audiences of all ages.
“Stars of the show include panto regulars such as Marc Thomas, Sue and Martin Bolt, Tim Harrap and Larry Greeff, while Stephane Thomas takes on his first panto lead as Crusoe, with newcomer James Mukwindidza as Man Friday,” said Higgins.
He said musical direction was by Meg Mackenzie, choreography by Caroline Yule and a cast of more than 25 performers had been in rehearsals since September.
Higgins said during the run, two gala nights had been arranged, the first on December 9 for the BS Leon Home, while the second on December 17, sponsored by the Spanish Embassy, was for the Harare City Library.
“A feature of this year’s run is a special carol evening, with carols and Christmas songs being sung at the start of the performance on December 16, and Spar Zimbabwe will produce a songbook with words to enable the audience, especially children, to sing along,” he said.
Higgins said Spar Zimbabwe would use the show to promote awareness of the work done by Childline Zimbabwe and a collection box would be set up in the Reps foyer to enable people to bring along donations such as toys, clothes, books and other children’s items.
He said cash donations could also be made to Childline Zimbabwe representatives on duty before each performance.
“Panto is great fun and we are pulling out all the stops to make sure Robinson Crusoe is one of the best we have staged to date,” said Crutchley.
“You may think Robinson Crusoe was all about two people, but the panto has a treasure of characters on hand to provide an entertaining show for all ages.”