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Pinocchio – It’s a Real Panto!

Kanyi Nokwe (Pinocchio) 2The minute that invitation to the annual year-end pantomime hits your Inbox, your heart gives a little thump of joy … and not just because it signifies that the holidays are around the corner!

This is Janice Honeyman’s 30th pantomime, which is an achievement in itself. The fact that she continues to get it right, drawing in audiences, surprising and delighting the crowds every year, is a testament to her sheer talent and skill. She has a gift of knowing the perfect recipe to thrill her audiences, and Pinocchio, her offering this year is certainly no different. There’s just the right balance of innuendo, political lampooning and catchy tunes (both new and old) to hold the attention of all ages throughout the show. This combines with some truly eye-popping, phenomenal sets and an energetic cast who are all clearly fully immersed in the magical world they’re responsible for creating.

I’m positive that part of Janice’s ongoing ability to succeed at exciting her panto audiences year in and year out, is her own inclusive participation in the process. She’s not merely a writer and director who sits back and watches things happen statically as she’s penned it. When I interviewed some of the cast members during the rehearsal process, the common thread they all spoke about was Janice’s method of character development: allowing each actor to make the role their own and not merely something she’d put down on paper.

Returning to the age-old panto tradition of females taking on male lead roles, Pinocchio, the little wooden puppet who yearns to be a ‘real boy’, is played by Kanyi Nokwe who gives a stellar performance. Her endearing wonderment at the world around her/him is delightful, as is her excellent portrayal of a puppet, unable to move as fluidly as her human counterparts.

Pinocchio'17 (225)The much-loved Tobie Cronje returns to the panto stage as the bumbling Geppetto, who’s always longed for a son. He’s pursued by the hilarious Dame Arletti Spaghetti, played with uproarious aplomb by Grant Towers, in bright, brash, full-on technicolour! She happens to conveniently have a son available, the lazy Lampwick played with appropriate ‘too cool for school’ laid back, nonchalance by Ben Kgosimore. For some reason though, he’s not quite what Gepetto’s looking for in an offspring!

Mark Tatham (Cricket) & Ilse Klink (Bella, Blues Fairy)Mark Tatham bounces around the stage with boundless (actually, seemingly endless) vim and verve as a rather whimsical Jiminy Cricket, instructed by Bella Bouboulina, The Blues Fairy (you read that right – she’s a ‘Blues’ fairy with Southern flair) to be Pinocchio’s conscience. Ilse Klink, seasoned professional of SA stage and screen gives the role her own sprinkling of sparkling pizazz: she’s classy, funny, playful and just the right amount of bossy when she needs to be!

Andre Schwartz (Fox) & Chi Mhende (Cat)And panto always needs its villains doesn’t it? This year, we have André Schwartz as Il Fortunato the Fox who, although not quite as evil as his previous panto counterparts, is quite happy to ham it up as a foxy Phantom of the Opera – it’s inspired and the audience adored it! He’s accompanied by the brilliant Chi Mhende as Pussy Galore. Her claws are permanently out, and she’s wicked enough for the both of them!

The lighting and special effects are spectacular, all complemented by a tight, dynamic ensemble, complete with fresh-faced youngsters from Born to Perform (Stageworx School of Performing Arts).

Pinocchio'17 (21)Being panto, one does tend to slightly lose sight of the theme of the original story being told as it usually gets diluted in the inevitable tweaking of the plot. The actual background of Pinocchio is particularly pertinent to this time of year. It’s all about family values, listening to your conscience and doing the right thing despite all the pressure that’s thrown at you from all sides – and in this day and age it does seem that this happens literally from the day you’re born, as happens to Pinocchio, who candidly proclaims “I’m only one day old!” He still needs to muddle through the ups and downs of the challenges he’s faced with, as one does in life, learning who he can and can’t trust along the way, and having a whole bunch of entertaining and hair-raising adventures while doing so. And we, the audience, are lucky enough to join him on the journey.

Pinocchio, The Ultimate Pantomime Adventure is currently on the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre until December 30th 2017.

To purchase tickets, visit www.joburgtheatre.com or call 0861 670 670.  Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Joburg Theatre box office or by booking and paying via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick n Pay stores.

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PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

HOP ON THE BUS TO FABULOUS!

PQD DIVA's Credit Lance Peterson

Divas Candida Mosomo, Londiwe Dhlomo & Tembeka Mnguni – Photo Credit: Lance Peterson

From the minute the curtain goes up and the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert launches into their enthusiastic, energetic opening number: It’s Raining Men – complete with 3 sparkly, shimmering Diva’s suspended above their heads – you know you’re in for a helluva ride! And that’s exactly what you get when you take your seat for this proudly South African production that takes you on the journey of a lifetime across the Australian outback.

In case you don’t know, this is the touching story of three drag queens who travel across Australia on a rather decrepit bus, which they fondly name Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. On their journey they discover the true meaning of friendship, love and unfortunately also meet up with the animosity that accompanies those who have no understanding of anyone or anything ‘different’. It’s a timeless tale of how strong bonds are formed, how hatred and derision continue to exist despite the advances that we think are being made, and how ultimately we all have the need to be accepted for who we are, regardless of our differences.

Daniel Buys is perfect in the role of Tick (Mitzi); delightfully up-beat, while seamlessly able to shift into a more restrained, reflective mood when his role requires it. And it’s certainly needed as he secretly has more than one reason to be schlepping around the

DAVID DENNIS, DANIEL BUYS and PHILLIP SCHNETLER Priscilla Photo NARDUS ENGELBRECHT 156

David Dennis, Daniel Buys, Phillip Schnetler – Photo Credit: Nardus Engelbrecht

outback in a broken-down bus! He ropes in flighty Adam (Felicia) to join him on his mission, and Felicia has a goal of her very own. Apart from just wanting to have a good time, she’s always wanted to belt out a Kylie number on top of Ayers rock, because who doesn’t love the thought of ‘a cock in a frock on a rock’! Phillip Schnetler camps up the role with spot-on, screaming hilarity (and a touch of Jack from Will & Grace)! The trio is complete with dignified, slightly aging transsexual Bernadette who feels she’s possibly past her prime, but willing to go out with a bang (so to speak!). David Dennis plays the role with gracious grandeur, back-biting as wickedly as any self-respecting old queen would! And I just have to add here, out of these three, I just can’t decide who has the best pair of legs … they’re all to die for!!

Tshepo Ncokoane in Priscilla. Credit NARDUS ENGELBRECHT 16

Tshepo Ncokoane – Photo credit: Nardus Engelbrecht

Mentions must go to the all too fabulous, stupendously over-the-top Miss-Understanding, Tshepo Ncokoane; Candice van Litsenborgh who hams it up as the most hilarious mullet ever, complete with humungous boobs bouncing all over the stage (almost); Chantal Herman as a cheeky mail-order bride who’s sick and tired of being overlooked; and last but most definitely not least, veteran actor, James Borthwick who plays the simple, but simply adorable, big-hearted mechanic, who might just have more to him than meets the eye.

Ultimately though, producers Hazel Feldman and Tony Feldman of Showtime Management have put together a cracker of a team who have have masterfully overseen all the minutiae of this show, ensuring that they collaborate perfectly to make it the glitter and glitz extravaganza that it is. Director Anton Luitingh keeps things crisp, smart and snappy and technical director Alistair Kilbee oversees the constant ebb and flow of the pizazz that abounds throughout. Resident choreographer, Duane Alexander ensures (I have no clue how) that the 28-strong cast gets every step in synch, in heels nogal!  Brian Schimmel, one of SA’s top music directors leads the 9-piece orchestra through numerous well-loved numbers (I Say a Little Prayer, Don’t Leave Me This Way, True Colours, I Will Survive … and many more) that will have audiences singing at the top of their lungs, not only during the show, but when they leave too!

And as for the costumes … the headdresses, the shoes … they’ll simply take your breath away! There’s so much colour, so much to look at … it’s a feast for the eyes and an extreme celebration of the imagination!

HR I WILL SURVIVE, Priscilla. Credit- Nardus Engelbrecht

Photo credit: Nardus Engelbrecht

Best of all though is the utter enjoyment that shines from the face of each and every cast member. This is a show that begs for an audience, and has audiences begging for more

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a must-see. It’s fabulous fun, thoroughly entertaining, and if you don’t walk out of that theatre with a huge smile on your face, then you lied and didn’t actually see the show!

It’s on at the Teatro, Montecasino until 18 June, 2017.

BOOKINGS: Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, or visit www.computicket.com

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

This musical contains some strong language and adult themes, therefore parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12

GLORY, GLORY, IT’S GOLIATH & GOLIATH!

THE GOLIATH COMEDY EXPERIENCE 2017 GOLIATHX2017 

Goliath Comedy Experience

What’s that you said … we South Africans don’t have much to laugh about? Are you kidding me?!

If you’re feeling a bit down in the mouth then we’ve got some fabulous, funny-bone news for you! South Africa’s best friends of Comedy, Goliath & Goliath, in association with Comedy Central and Savanna, are bringing you The Goliath Comedy Experience 2017.

With last year welcoming over 2000 festival-goers, adoring sold out shows and standing ovations over one weekend, this year #GoliathX2017 will be spreading the funny over a 7 day period with the biggest and newest names in comedy, from 24 to 30 April, at Africa’s premium comedy club, the Goliath Comedy Club in Melrose Arch, Joburg!

You can catch some of comedy’s greats such as Joey Rasdien, Tol A$$ Mo and John Vlismas, legends Joe Parker, Roni Modimola and Mark Banks or next generation funnies like Glen Biderman-Pam and Beach all on the Goliath Comedy Club stage.

And the biggest scoop of all: Donovan, Jason and Nicholas Goliath will be performing their first ever three-man experiential comedy show as a prelude to the launch of their national tour!

Whether you’re a new or somewhat veteran fan of comedy – with these tailor-made comedy offerings, there’s bound to be something for everyone!

Here’s the line-up for the week:

Goliath Comedy Experience 4

MONDAY 24 APRIL 2017 – NEXT GEN Brought to you by Savanna:

Talented open spot comedians are a dime a dozen, so 10 of the most popular up-and-comers were chosen to take to the stage, give of their best, entertain and show you where they are going. There’s no competition here, no battles, just brand new next generation funny.

Goliath Comedy Experience 2

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY 25 APRIL 2017 – OLDS COOL:

This proved to be one of the biggest hits of the 2016 Goliath Comedy Experience. It features some of SA’s Comedy legends who continue to keep things as funny and as relevant as ever..

 

 

WEDNESDAY 26 APRIL 2017 – 30in5 Brought to you by Savanna:

With no host, 30 comedians will all be doing 5 minutes each … anything could happen! The line-up is a mix of well-established comics and youngsters who’ve been doing this since … last week. There’s no hierarchy, each comic will draw a number out of a hat and depending on the number they choose, that’s where they’ll appear on the line-up. Expect it to be fast paced, witty and hilariously entertaining!

THURSDAY 27 APRIL 2017 – GOLIATH & GOLIATH:

Prepare for side-splitting hilarity as SA’s comic trio, Donovan, Jason and Nicholas Goliath launch their national tour with their first three-man experiential comedy show.

Goliath Comedy Experience 3

 

 

FRIDAY 28 & SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2017 – HEADLINERS:

The most popular show from last year’s launch event, for obvious reasons, a heavy hitting show featuring a mix of South African comedic greats. And there’s no excuse for missing it because there are two shows this year!

 

 

Tickets for the Goliath Comedy Experience are on sale now at www.goliathcomedyclub.com

Make sure you don’t miss out! Follow all the updates on Goliath Comedy Club via social media:

Twitter: @thegoliathcc

IG: @goliathcomedyclub

Facebook: Goliath Comedy Club

A DOUBLE DOSE OF FUN IN 1 WEEKEND!

The Full Morty : The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre – 8:00pm, Friday, 31 March 2017

AND

Live Jukebox : The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre – 8:00pm, Saturday, 1 April 2017

THE FULL MORTY and LIVE JUKEBOX have both previously enjoyed highly successful seasons, and Ginger Cube Productions have listened to audience demand are are bringing back this double dose of fun over one weekend, re-staging BOTH shows – for one night only – on Friday 31 March (The Full Morty) and Saturday 1 April (Live Jukebox) at The Fringe Theatre, Joburg Theatre. Both shows are at 8pm.

THE FULL MORTYThe Full Morty

Tickets : R120

Bookings at www.joburgtheatre.com / Webtickets / call 0861 670 670

Critically acclaimed actor, madly talented vocalist and professional k*k talker Mortimer Williams navigates that unchartered territory which fascinates us all (especially females)… the mind of the South African male.

It’s a mash-up of  stand-up comedy and cabaret in this hilarious show as Morty takes us through stories and songs while attempting to demonstrate just what it is that makes the SA male tick… with a few surprises along the way!

Morty is the perfect combination; a triple threat of talent, charisma and devilish naughtiness which all combines for a perfect evening of entertainment for guys and girls of all ages (as long as they’re over 16).

The Full Morty first opened  in April 2015 and has exploded onto the SA theatre scene, playing two successful seasons at the Joburg Theatre and two sell-out National Arts Festivals in Grahamstown (2015/2016).

Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more, scholars, students and pensioners are at R100 each and available only by calling Joburg Theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

Live JukeboxLIVE JUKEBOX

Tickets : R120

Bookings at www.joburgtheatre.com / Webtickets / call 0861 670 670

It’s the only live musical game show in the country! And it’s back for another kick-ass evening of musical mayhem!

Live Jukebox is the brainchild of Ginger Cube Productions. It made its debut at the 2016 National Arts Festival and has been performing to raucous crowds ever since.

Seasoned entertainer Mortimer Williams (of Skeem Saam fame) and theatre personality Kristy Suttner collaborate in this musical rollercoaster that gets audiences tapping their feet and bopping in the aisles.  They’re supported by a 4-piece live band, lead by musical genius Saranti Reeders.

So how does it work?

Remember the TV game shows Liriekeraai and Noot vir Noot?   What about Don’t Forget the Lyrics or Whose Line is it Anyway?

Live Jukebox is a musical gameshow where the audience calls the shots.  In the safe hands of the on-stage team, contestants are led through various games from music trivia to lipsync battles; guess the note and more, with the audience selecting the genre for each game, such as pop, rock, local and decades 60’s through 90’s.

Whether you’re into quietly tapping your foot to your favourite Parlotones classic or unleashing your inner Diva on stage with a Whitney Houston impersonation, Live Jukebox has something for everyone.

As that jukebox is played, the audience decides the content of the show and how their night will turn out, ensuring that no two shows are the same.

Book your seat for Joburg’s sensational musical comedy gameshow and experience a night out at the theatre that will leave you begging for more!

Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more, scholars, students and pensioners are at R100 each and available only by calling Joburg Theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

The duration of the show is 1 hour 30 minutes including an interval with no age restriction.

You can also purchase tickets to see BOTH shows for a R150 package deal.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

Pieter Toerien presents the FUNNIEST COMEDY EVER on stage!

The play follows a theatre troupe as they struggle to get through a run of their murder mystery without succumbing to the disasters surrounding them: falling set pieces, sticking doors, missed cues, anything covered under Murphy’s Law!

The Play That Goes Wrong

Photo credit: Christiaan Kotze

Pieter Toerien says: “The PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is the FUNNIEST play I have EVER seen!”

Joanna Lumley after seeing a recent London performance said: “We laughed until the tears ran down our faces! It has to be seen!!!”

WHAT’S ON STAGE said “It’s as though The Mousetrap has been taken over by Monty Python!”

Described by theatre audiences as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off – this new hit comedy has won every major award on the London stage – 2015 Olivier Award Winner for Best New Comedy/ 2015 BroadwayWorld UK Winner for Best New Play/ 2014 WhatsOnStage Award Winner for Best New Comedy! The South African production is by Alan Committie and features a fabulous comedy cast which includes ROBERT FRIDJHON, RUSSEL SAVADIER, THEO LANDEY, CRAIG JACKSON, ROBERTO POMBO, NICOLE FRANCO, LOUIS VILJOEN and SIVE GUBANGXA.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG celebrates the best of live theatre… and the worst:

The Northriding Polytechnic Drama Society is putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! The accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences!

Given 5 stars from The Daily Mail, called a ‘Gut-busting hit’ by the New York Times and with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Ant and Dec ‘funniest show we’ve seen! If you can get a ticket go.’

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is guaranteed to leave you aching with laughter!

RUNNING TIME: 2 hrs 5 mins (including a 20 min interval)

Recommended Age: 8+

South African audiences will be treated to the award-winning Comedy from 24 March in Jo’Burg and 3 May in Cape Town.

Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre: 24 March – 30 April

Performances: Wed – Fri @ 8pm, Sat @ 5pm & 8pm, Sun @ 3pm

Tickets: R220, R180, R130 & R100

Theatre on the Bay: 3 May – 17 June

Performances: Tue – Fri @ 8pm, Sat @ 4pm & 8pm

Tickets: R220, R180 & R120

 

CROSS-CULTURE DIVERSITY: AS WIDE OR AS NARROW AS YOU MAKE IT

From KtoK 3How likely is it that a Brownish girl from the Cape Flats (her words), would meet and fall in love with a boy from the close-knit Northern suburbs Jewish community of Johannesburg … while she’s in Turkey, nogal! … and then marry him? Pretty likely actually, because that’s what happened to Chantal Stanfield, and if you head on down to the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in Sandton she’ll tell you all about it in her 1-woman play, ‘From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach’.

With refreshing, boundless energy, Chantal endears herself to her audience as she regales them with her entertaining description of those first star-crossed Tweets exchanged between Turkey and South Africa. And as the time draws closer towards her homecoming, she bravely wonders what on earth she’s gotten herself into.

And with that same zesty enthusiasm, she delights with her description of her introduction to Shabbos dinners, Jewish gastronomy, long-standing family disagreements (I’ll leave it to her to describe those to you), the circumcision ceremony (or ‘bris’), meeting her first Rabbi, and of course, what one wears to all of these occasions when you haven’t grown up ‘just knowing’.

Throughout this narrative, we hear the ongoing advice she assumes she’d receive from her mom (“JJJyyyyy!!!!”) and her CGBF – Coloured Gay Best Friend – and I’m not even going to try and translate that advice!From KtoK 4

Director Megan Furniss has kept things tight with virtually no props to clutter things up, just a comfy lounger, and a bleached wooden chair and table, all moved around by Chantal herself, as she jives along happily to an upbeat, buoyant  soundtrack.

There is a brief, serious moment when the ugly head of racism is reared, because there are always going to be those who, for whatever reason, can’t share in the happiness of others, or are just insidiously ignorant … or who just like to blatantly gossip! But for the most part things are kept on the light side.

Will you understand it if you’re not from either the Jewish or Coloured communities. You might miss some of the innuendo; you might not fully ‘get’ some of the ‘lingo’ but ultimately this is actually a love story that will make you feel quite warm and fuzzy, and that’s something you’ll relate to, no matter where you come from!

Hopefully it will also make people a little more open to having conversations about diversity, difference, ‘otherness’, tolerance and acceptance.

From KtoK 2Koe’siestes: Soft, sticky Cape Malay doughnuts, lightly spiced with aniseed and cinnamon, dipped in syrup and covered with desiccated coconut.

Kneidlach: Jewish soup dumplings made of matzah meal, eggs, water and fat, traditionally served in chicken soup and a staple on Passover. Also known as matzah balls.

Co-produced by Daphne Kuhn and Kizara Kreative.

“From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach” runs from 28th February to 18th March, 2017 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Sandton, with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and extra Saturday show at 6pm. Tickets are R140 and can be booked by calling the theatre on 011 883 8606, theatreonthesquare@gmail.com or through computicket.com. Enquire about dinner-show specials and group discounts directly with the theatre on 011 883 8606.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST – BACK AT MONTECASINO UNTIL 19 MARCH!

 

 

andre-hypnotist-4

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST is back in town at The Studio Theatre at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre until 19 March, wreaking all sorts of havoc with unsuspecting (although willing) members of the public.

His easy-going, friendly personality and unprepossessing stage presence do not at first inspire you to believe that this man might have incredible powers of persuasion; the sort of influence that could convince someone that they are a cannibal and can speak only in cannibalise or make someone else completely forget their names or believe a visible person is invisible.

andre-hypnotist-2However, five minutes later once he has a group of volunteers on stage who instantly nod off into a somnambulant state whenever he says the word “Sleep”, you realise that this man really knows something about the art of hypnosis. And, when you’re convinced that at least one of his volunteers must be a set-up, Andre performs a pretty nifty test on the hapless hypnotees that makes you think otherwise.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST doesn’t try to fool the audience into thinking he’s a special being with magical powers. He explains everything as he goes along and within minutes he has the entire audience in stitches of laughter as he creates his own form of hypnotic humour.

For close on two hours, Andre gives you a hilarious demonstration of just how easy it is to confuse the brain, at the same time his volunteers become the stars of the show without even knowing it. andre-hypnotist-3

This show is great fun and suitable for all ages.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST is now showing at the Studio Theatre at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from Wednesdays – Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. The season runs until 19 March. Tickets are just R120 and bookings are at Computicket.

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