Unfrozen brings Disney to Kampala

hen Nick Frances sat down to write Unfrozen, little did she know it would be a grand success in theatrical pantomime in Uganda.

Apart from selling out Friday and Saturday nights, this show was a perfect semblance to Disney’s Frozen and a likely merger of the fairy tale series, Once Upon A time. Revellers who had watched either or both of these were thrilled to the bone experiencing the deviation of the story on stage.

Opening with a marriage ceremony and a runaway bride, Kampala Amateur Dramatic Society (KADS) redirected the story of Arendelle to Kampala.

Anna (M’sango Namirembe), the bride who in Frozen, is set to marry Kristoff (Emma Norris), instead leaves him at the altar for aenture in Uganda, to pursue her dream travel the world, work for an NGO and teach English at ISU. Kristoff, in pursuit of his love, follows her to Uganda, where the large part of the play is staged.

However, from start to finish, Unfrozen was a crafted work of satire that kept the audience laughing.

The jokes mirrored Uganda for its vices (the two-hour plus drive from Entebbe to Kampala for a distance worth 30 minutes, unavailable washrooms at the airport, the “villainous” KCCA [Kampala Capital City Authority] but also exalted unique features like the beautiful wildlife and fauna, the rolex (Chapati rolled with eggs) and ridiculed the Western world for its ignorant perception of Africa. It also reflected some pop culture like selfies.

They stayed true to English pantomime culture, as Steve Brown as Olaf, Matren Treffers as Miss Mercy (nanny to Anna and Elsa) often engaged the audience, encouraging them to cheer the good characters, boo and hiss the bad (villains).

Lively audience

There were talking animals, the audience playfully answered “Yes it is –No it isn’t”, giving life to the theatre. The Snow Queen (Margot Girerd Barclay) as chief villain was booed as much as she beautifully executed the character.

The costuming and setting added a glow of finesse to the production. Sparkle defined the royalty and outfits like kitengi and gomesis brought the familiar to the set as did local tunes such as Jose Chameleon’s Wale Wale.

The music was a fine selection, including Michael Jackson’s Who’s Bad, which Peter Benhur Nyekogave and M’sango gave the Moonwalk, “All about that base” to defend fat women and the replica of Pitch Perfect’s Miss Me when I’m Gone, as the Trolls played sound with purple cups, was divine.

The play was directed by Kenan Pollack and Inger Kammeraat.

About KADS

Kampala Amatuer Dramatic Society comprises people who love to act for the craft and the fun of it. The group stages about four plays a year of different genres, including drama, comedy, musical, pantomimes. The next play will be staged in March next year.