FAMILY THEATRE: Betti and the Yeti
Review by JENNA KRETZMANN
Renowned Eastern Cape theatre company, UBOM! (also known as Heart Beat Theatre) is at it again with their latest children’s theatre production of Betti & the Yeti. Filled with song, dance, interactivity, colour, laughter, and poignant themes, this is a show that both young and old will enjoy.
The fantastical story follows the life of young Betiswa (Betti), a resident of the hilly Village of Silver Trees. Her town is known for its beautiful woodlands, cheerful spirit, and happy inhabitants. When the trees start to die, the townspeople turn nasty, and blame is placed on the misunderstood Yeti who lives hidden away in the forest. Together with her best friend Peter, the two children attempt to protect their new friend Yeti and restore peace to their land.
Full of energy, colour, song, and dance, the production contains all elements of successful children’s theatre. Stage manager, Delara Crouse, dazzles the audience with beautifully crafted sets and props that burst with colour and vibrance. The costumes are just as lively, with each actor wearing multiple red, blue, and green garments. “I loved the art,” exclaimed a child when leaving the theatre.
The dynamic cast brings fun to the Victoria Stage, keeping everyone engaged. The cast immerses the young audience in the story, asking questions and prompting the children to shout out advice for characters at random intervals. All actors sing and dance beautifully, contributing to the playful essence of a storyline that sometimes is a little frightening. The script includes various roles and languages, which is vitally important for all audiences, particularly younger viewers. This inclusive representation allows the children to see themselves in the characters.
The production touches on valuable lessons we may all learn from. The characters of Betti and Peter portray empathy in their quest to save their friend, Yeti, from the villainous hunters, and the audience learns the invaluable lesson of walking in another’s shoes. Confidence and self-belief are also central to the character development of shy Peter, who turns out to be the story’s hero. It also delicately explores issues of corruption and greediness for young audiences.
The joy of theatre is an irreplicable feeling, and its appreciation is central to the arts. What better way to lay those core memories and values in a child than by getting them to see the production of Betti and the Yeti? It is a delightful production that sparked immense joy in my heart and had me tapping around for days. The last performance is tomorrow, don’t miss out.