Isn’t it just ridiculous that in 2018, we adults have learned absolutely nothing … and that the more things change, the more they stay the same … and that the more progress we’ve made, the more backward we really are?!? Well, thank goodness for bright, bold, unapologetic children’s musical theatre! It says it like it is, without sugar coating or subtlety – kids just don’t buy into that nonsense.
Written by Melvin Tunstall III, composed by our very own SA boykie, Greg Borowsky together with Douglas Lyons, who also wrote the lyrics. The original idea of POLKADOTS was inspired by the Little Rock Nine who ended segregation in American schools in the late ’50’s. But before you start yawning, and wondering how on earth this relates to kids of today … sadly it does!
What’s it all about? Lily Polkadot (the gorgeously bubbly Gugu Dhlamini) has recently moved to the town of Rockaway and is apprehensive about her first day of school. She’s the only Polkadot in a school of Squares. And immediately she’s targeted by Mean Girl, Penelope Square (Kirsty Marillier, in fabulous, full-scale viciousness), purely because of the way she looks – she’s a ’round peg, in a square hole’ and isn’t wanted here! She’s misunderstood wherever she turns, and whatever she says (despite her determined optimism), and even confronted with a separate water fountain to drink from! All she needs is one friend so that she doesn’t feel alone. Surprisingly this comes in the form of Penelope’s shy brother Sky (wonderfully awkward and endearing Bonginkosi Jay Hlatshwayo), and also the sunny teacher Mrs Square (vivacious and highly accomplished
Andrea Shine – who also doubles up as Mama Square).
This small, but extremely skilled cast has no trouble keeping its audience enthralled, engaged and entertained and in just 55 colourful, vibrant minutes, our four main characters teach us all some fundamental life lessons!
There’s a very good reason why POLKADOTS recently won the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show in New York. The entire show teaches us that what makes us different is what makes us awesome! Not one of us is the same, and why do we even want to be? But then why can’t we accept each other as we are – for after all, we’re all the same on the inside?
Kids of all ages will gain something from POLKADOTS, whether it’s just the fun element, the catchy songs that carry great messages, or the more in-depth meaning of the storyline. There’s really something for everyone here.
This is POLKADOTS’ first international production and it’s not surprising that it’s led by an award-winning local team. Making its debut at this year’s REDFEST, followed by a week of school holiday shows at Redhill, it’s produced by Joseph Gerassi for Redhill School, in association with producers Drew Bakker and Rowan Bakker for &CO, together with associate producer Matthew Counihan. Shelley Adriaanzen directs and choreographs, with musical supervisor by Rowan Bakker and production design by Sarah Roberts.
With its strong anti-bullying message, a tour schedule is in the pipeline. So keep a close eye on the POLKADOTS SA Facebook page for updates.
For info on shows this week, and to book, click here.
Don’t miss POLKADOTS. I can’t recommend it enough!
All cast photo credits: Ronel Hugo
Ndumiso Lindi and Tumi Morake have added three new cities to their ‘Married…But Not To Each Other’ Tour
“They’re in it together. Not Together-Together, But Together…”
Whilst travelling on one of their hilarious adventures, comedy’s modern traditionalist, Ndumiso Lindi together with comedy’s bad momma, Tumi Morake were asked by a customs official: “Are you married?” Ndumiso quickly replied: “Yes”, realised what he was saying and added: “But not to each other.” And thus began the comical journey for this wife and husband … of other people.
Now they’re taking their rib-cracking, side-splitting new stand-up show, ‘Married…But Not To Each Other’ across South Africa and into Africa. Following a successful debut show in Menlyn (Pretoria) and two sold-out shows in Cape Town, new dates have been added in Botswana, Krugersdorp and Nelspruit, in addition to their official launch show on April 14 at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City in Johannesburg.
It’s a hilarious take on the roles and regulations of marriage and the pothole-laced roads the sexes have to navigate. It’s not just about marriage. It’s also about the world that these marriages have to survive in.
Ndumiso Lindi, the gentleman of South African comedy (otherwise known as Roosta), effortlessly blends new-age style with old-school traditions. His deep voice, soul-warming smile, booming laughter, original content and seamless delivery make for a comedy act that is outstanding and soulfully South African.
With a comedy career spanning over 11 years and numerous outstanding credentials under her belt, Tumi Morake continues to be a formidable force in the comedy industry. Her edgy and unpredictable brand of comedy has wowed audiences around the globe. When she’s not on stage, Tumi Morake can also be seen on TV screens hosting WTFTUMI and Point of Order as well as channelling her seemingly endless talents into writing, acting and producing.
3 March – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice (Menlyn)
9 March – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice (Cape Town) [SOLD OUT]
10 March – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice (Cape Town) [SOLD OUT]
14 April – Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City (Johannesburg)
5 May – The Grand Palm Hotel (Gaborone, Botswana)
26 May – Silverstar Casino (Krugersdorp)
27 July – Emnotweni Casino (Nelspruit)
Tickets are available through Computicket (except for Botswana where tickets are available directly through the venue). Visit www.computicket.com or at a Computicket outlet near you. ‘Married…But Not To Each Other’ carries a PG16 age restriction.
Proudly brought to you by Blu Blood (www.blublood.com @BluBloodSA).
Connect on social media:
Facebook: TumiMorakeSA, NdumisoLindi or Twitter: @tumi_morake, @NdumisoLindi
Popular SAMA nominated performer, Tailor has announced the South African schedule for her upcoming #1000MilesTour.
Tailor gained popularity after collaborating with LIVE’s lead singer Ed Kowalczyk, and has also shared the stage with top SA acts such as Locnville, Goldfish, Matthew Mole and Nakhane Toure.
In 2017, Tailor was honoured to be invited to perform as part of Johnny Clegg’s Final Journey Tour in front of thousands of local SA fans, as well as at London’s iconic Hammersmith Apollo.
British fans have since celebrated Tailor’s outlandish stage performance in the infamous Bedford in Balham that made Ed Sheeran famous (Ed Sheeran!!!!!!!!), the celebrated Halfmoon in Putney where The Who, U2, and Rolling Stones played and The Troubadour where Bob Dylan performed in his first show in London.
Tailor has confirmed South African dates for an exclusive two weeks in her #1000MILESTOUR. Fans will be captivated by her enigmatic performance and music from her three acclaimed albums: The Dark Horse, Light and Trust Part 1 as well as new music she has created with world-renowned musicians and producers alike.
A fan once asked Tailor why she was so quiet before her performance, and the young Tailor replied: “To save my voice, so I can scream on stage!”
TAILOR #1000MilesTour Schedule
Friday 20th – Barnyard, Rivonia @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 087 236 3088
Saturday 21st – The Music Box, Observatory @ 7pm – R450.00* includes drinks, dinner etc as per below – bookings firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 4789 555
*ALL YOU CAN DRINK, dinner (super tasty vegetarian), show, tea/coffee and cake, your donation is R450.00 per person
Monday 23rd – Barnyard, Silverstar @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 010 593 0744
Tuesday 24th – Café Roux, Cape Town @ 8.30pm – tickets R150.00 from caferouxsessions.co.za
Thursday 26th – Café Roux, Noordhoek @ 8.30pm – tickets R150.00 from caferouxsessions.co.za
Sunday 29th – Cottage club, Fishhoek @ 5pm – tickets R150.00 from email@example.com or 021 782 0931
Wednesday 2nd – Barnyard, Cresta @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 011 478 5300
Thursday 3rd – Die Blou Hond, Pretoria @ 8.30pm – tickets R190.00 or R390.00 from http://www.casatoscana.co.za/events-shows/events
R190 for show, incl. popcorn, pre-drinks, coffee & tea OR dinner option @ R390 pp
Saturday 5th – Radium Beer Hall, JHB @ 9pm – tickets R150.00 from Andy 083 542 1044 or
Details for TAILOR
Written by Mike Kenny
Directed by Francois Theron
Once again, director Francois Theron succeeds in bringing a production to life in such a way that it’s perfectly accessible to and understood by the youngest of theatre-goers. We are so used to productions that are big, bold and shiny – far too brash and sophisticated for the likes of younger minds who are just getting to grips with what theatre is all about and how they can relate to it. The National Children’s Theatre is the ideal space in which they can do that.
I’ll admit from the start, I’m a fan of anything that relates to Peter Pan, and this didn’t disappoint. Sarah Roberts has created costumes and a set that will delight young audiences, and will inspire them to go home and re-enact both in their own homes! She’s made use of everyday household items that children will be able to find around their homes and that of their friends: an umbrella (the big, magical moon), gardening rakes (crocodile teeth), sleeping bags (mermaid tails – assisted by braces) … they might have to look a bit further for a wheelbarrow (a boat)!
The animated cast are an absolute delight and interact energetically with their highly enthusiastic young audience. Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku as Wendy can be forgiven for her somewhat errant accent (slightly British … somewhat not-so-much) because she’s completely endearing and utterly lovely, and she sings beautifully. Daniel Kieth Geddes is Wendy’s younger brother John; he’s also a rather raffish Captain Hook, who’s actual quite wonderfully comical. Danny Meaker is the youngest, sleepiest brother Michael. He’s trying to show his older siblings how brave he is by sleeping out in the back garden with them. Meaker also plays Peter Pan, our well-known protagonist who never wants to grow up, leading Wendy to face her own fears about growing older and leaving childhood behind. Phiphi-Gu’mmy Moletsane is a charming and cheeky Tinkerbell who kids will immediately relate to. She’s mischievous and playful, willing to do anything for her hero Peter Pan.
Based on Mike Kenny’s adaptation of James Barrie’s original Peter Pan, this is a gentle and imaginative way of telling this popular and much-loved story to a far younger audience. The songs are catchy and enjoyable. I’m thinking they’re added in for maximum effect and to hold attention for as long as possible. It certainly works. Parts of the show are interactive and will enthral the young children who sit in front on cushions, and are virtually a part of the actual production. If your child is more sensitive, it might be better to keep them further back with you if you think they might feel slightly intimidated sitting near the front.
I highly recommend this if you have young children. (I’d say from age 4 to about age 12.) Productions at the National Children’s Theatre are of excellent quality, and are one of the best ways to introduce younger audiences to the magic of theatre and imagination.
The theatre is situated at 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown, Johannesburg
Underneath a Magical Moon is on until 15 April 2018.
BOOKINGS: Call the theatre on 011 484 1584/5 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You don’t simply ‘watch’ The Color Purple, you experience it … it’s akin to a religious experience where you immerse yourself in it, and then you emerge afterwards feeling that any piece of theatre hereon after is always going to be compared to this and will be left wanting.
As I drifted out of the auditorium, I caught these snippets from fellow theatre-goers: ‘Extraordinary’! ‘Marvelous’! ‘Simply superb’! Yes, they all spoke using hyperbole because that’s just about all that can be said for this production – if one is not rendered speechless by its sheer excellence.
I’m sure I’m in the vast minority of those who had not previously read the book (written by Alice Walker in 1982) or even seen the film of the same name. So I had only a vague notion of the background and storyline before going to see the show. I’m not sure this makes a difference. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Within seconds of opening the audience is swept away by the innocent exuberance of Celie (Didintle Khunou) and her sister Nettie (Sebe Leotlela) bursting onto the stage, singing as only children without a care can. But within just short moments we realise this isn’t the case. Time moves swiftly onstage and we see that this simplicity is just a front for the harsh life that the sisters experience. It’s the early 1900’s in the American South: times are tough for young African-American women.
In these times troubles are borne with proud humility. Life dishes out harsh blows, as do the men from whom there seems no escape. However Celie finds shelter from the storm in the unlikely form of Shug Avery, the woman her own husband pines for. Sophisticated, stylish, and with a mind of her own, Shug is the first person to show Celie how to nurture her own individuality. For the first time Celie begins to understand that it might be possible that she’s her own person, and that she might have a chance at having a life of her own, away from the cruelty and appalling conditions inflicted upon her by the loathsome Mister. Khunou plays Celie with dignity, charm and strength and a voice that will capture your heart.
Lerato Mvelase makes an enchanting Shug. She holds everyone in the palm of one hand, while wanting to grab all that life has to offer her with the other. It’s a riveting performance. And in the very eye of the Shug storm is Mister, played with such discerning insight by Aubrey Poo that the audience can’t help but be captivated, first despising him, eventually sympathising with him and by the very end of the show feeling quite fond of him.
Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri as Mister’s son is delightfully endearing, with a voice that proves he’s to be taken a lot more seriously than his character might suggest. But it is Neo Motaung who surprises in her role as Sofia, Harpo’s strong-minded wife. Wow! This is a powerhouse of talent to look out for in future. With a voice that pulsates and resonates into your very core, not to mention a laugh that begs to let you in on the private joke! Motaung is an astonishing treasure that has been unearthed!
The entire cast creates a striking ensemble that moves effortlessly to the choreography of Oscar Buthelezi, and under the baton of Musical Director Rowan Bakker, together with the 8-piece orchestra, they generate a joyful noise that will undoubtedly bring audiences to their feet time and time again in thunderous applause, not only at the conclusion of each performance, but at other moving moments throughout it too.
Director Janice Honeyman has proven time and again that she is the Queen of all she surveys in her field but this time she’s outdone herself, and together with Executive Producer Bernard Jay has crafted a genuine masterpiece! This is an authentic gem of a production, the likes of which one rarely gets the privilege to see. Grab the opportunity while you have the chance! You’ll be so glad you did!
The Colour Purple is on The Mandela Stage at The Joburg Theatre until Sunday March 4th, 2018. Tickets are priced from R240: Telephone 0861 670 670, go online at www.joburgtheatre.com or book in person at the Joburg Theatre box office. Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.
[All photo credits: @enroCpics]
We know SA has world-class comic giants right here in our own country, and Blu Blood, in association with Comedy Central Africa is bringing them to Pretoria next month! This comedy extravaganza sees comic giants from around South Africa entertaining audiences at the Sun Arena Time Square, Menlyn (the first comedic event at the venue) on Saturday, February 10th, 2018.
The all-star line-up includes Riaad Moosa (MC), Alan Committie, Casper de Vries, Donovan Goliath, Gilli Apter, Hannes Brummer, Jason Goliath, Joey Rasdien, Khanyisa Bunu, Krijay Govender, Leeanda Reddy, Marc Lottering, Melt Sieberhagen, Shimmy Isaacs and Sifiso Nene, with a guest appearance by Morgan Beatbox.
“We pride ourselves on bringing world-class South African comedians to stages around the country. You’re getting a massive line-up of headliner comedians from start to finish. We’ve picked the cream of the crop and we’re excited to bring an even bigger and better Kings & Queens of Comedy for the first time to the Sun Arena in 2018,” says Osman Osman, MD of Blu Blood.
Don’t miss the Kings & Queens of Comedy, 10 February, 2018 at the Sun Arena Time Square, Menlyn, Pretoria. Tickets from R150 are available through Computicket online and the various retail outlets.
The show starts at 20h00 and is rated PG16.
Another hilarious production brought to you by Blu Blood in association with Comedy Central Africa.
You can WIN a set of double tickets to see Kings & Queens of Comedy!!!
Just let me know who you’re most looking forward to laughing at in this hilarious lineup on 10 Feb!
Closing date: Tuesday 6 Feb 2018
Winner announced: Wednesday 7 Feb 2018
[About Kings & Queens of Comedy: Going on six years of Kings & Queens of Comedy, the show started in 2012 in Johannesburg and has since grown to be one of the leading comedy brands in South Africa, promoting and showcasing local talent from around the country.]
It’s preview week for Panto 2017! Janice Honeyman’s 30th Pantomime, Pinocchio officially opens over the weekend but this coming week sees the first audiences filling the Joburg Theatre to see what this year’s festive season pantomime has in store. Mostly these previews will be made up of schoolchildren, some of whom have never even set foot inside a theatre before, so this experience will be brand new for them.
Audiences will be thrilled to see favourites like Tobie Cronje (a firm panto favourite), André Schwartz and Garth Collins (Granite of TV’s Gladiators fame) in the cast. But this is will also be a brand new experience for the 3 Panto stars that I chatted to recently, who I christened my ‘Panto Virgins’. Although they’re each highly skilled industry professionals with years of experience under their belts, they’ve never participated in a Janice Honeyman pantomime before so for all of them, this has all been very new and different.
Ilse Klink is no stranger to South African followers of stage and TV, one of her most notable roles being in Isidingo, for which she received an Avanti award in 2000. She’s appeared in a number of TV series, and stage shows, far too numerous to mention, and she’s a much sought after performer due to her versatility and genuine warmth. In fact, Ilse had been about to accept a role in a different project, when the offer to play Bella Bouboulina, The Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, was extended to her! She explains, “I didn’t hesitate in choosing the panto role because of the sheer history of the Janice Honeyman Pantomime!” She had worked briefly with Janice back in 2006, and ever since then she’s wanted what she describes as ‘the full experience’.
For Grant Towers, this year’s Dame, this is a dream role. In his opinion, despite what many may think about open minds and progressive advances having been made, both within the theatre industry and universally, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community is still frowned upon. He laughs, “But every year, people still pay to come and see a man dressed up as the dame, and they all love her and want photo’s with her!” Yes, it’s theatrical irony at its sardonic best. Grant describes the dame this year as an ‘insane, menopausal, Italian woman’ and says that he intends to do that description justice!
And what would Pinocchio be without his alter ego, Jiminy Cricket? Mark Tatham takes on the high energy role of Pinocchio’s conscience, and tells me that he loves the combination of physicality and wisdom that his character manages to encompass. We’re lucky to have Mark with the panto cast as directly from here, he moves on to play Ed the Hyena in the touring company of The Lion King! It’s a 3-year stint where he’ll also understudy Timon and Zazu! An incredible opportunity for this amazingly talented and amiable actor.
So, as we’re chatting, the actors taking advantage of the brief break in their busy rehearsal schedule, one thing becomes distinctly apparent – the magic of the pantomime is safe and sound in the most capable and loving hands of one very unique, special person:
- Janice Honeyman is an extremely highly revered director, not only because of her obvious years of experience which give her gravitas in her field, but as Grant clarifies, “Janice is to be admired for her directness because she gives you a sense of accomplishment in yourself … and she’s not mean!”
- Mark goes on to say, “I love that Janice is so open to any suggestions that the cast offer.”
- Ilse concludes by adding, “You get permission to be a performer with panto, especially with Janice at the helm. Every year you drive past that billboard and you hope, ‘one day, one day’… and then, that call comes and it’s THAT day!”
The excitement that these three performers feel at their upcoming appearance is obvious! They talk about concepts such as vision, belief and putting your dreams out to the universe in order to manifest them into reality, and that’s surely something they’ve all put into practice. Don’t think they’re sitting back after completing their Panto sting. As we’ve already said, Mark’s off to join The Lion King. Grant will be appearing as Brian in Avenue Q from April, and Ilse has not 1, but 2 movies that she’ll be filming, the first on the Orange River from March, and then straight after that another one in Cape Town.
But for now, they can’t wait for that vibrancy that only interaction with a live audience can bring, especially when that audience is made up of such a high percentage of children, who truly allow the enchantment and delight of the onstage wonder to captivate them.
Do yourself a favour: regardless of your age, take a walk away from the ordinary, suspend belief just for a little while and immerse yourself in the fairy-tale world of the Pantomime this festive season!
It’s just a step away … the Blue Fairy, the Dame and Jiminy Cricket await.
Pinocchio opens on The Mandela stage of Joburg Theatre on November 12th and runs until December 30th.
Pinocchio is written and directed by Janice Honeyman, with musical direction by Coenraad Rall and choreography by Nicol Sheraton. Timothy Le Roux is resident director and Dale Scheepers is band leader. The pantomime is produced by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay, in association with MNet, Jacaranda FM and Your Family Magazine.
Tickets for Pinocchio are on sale from R185: telephone 0861 670 670, go online at www.joburgtheatre.com, or book in person at the Joburg Theatre box office. Patrons can also book and pay via the Nedbank app or walk-in at selected Pick ‘n Pay stores (a full list is available at www.webtickets.co.za/pnpoutlets.aspx) – or book on-line and then pay at any Pick ‘n Pay store.