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.
HOP ON THE BUS TO FABULOUS!
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
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!!
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!
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
This musical contains some strong language and adult themes, therefore parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12
With Special Guests Joe Nina, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse and Ladysmith Black Mambazo
HOSTED BY IKUSASA (Ikusasa Arts Development Projects)
2 shows only : Saturday 29 April at 19h00 and Sunday 30 April at 13h00 on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre
This promises to be an unforgettable 2-hour show of pure nostalgia, with Kekana delivering all his hits from the start of his career back in 1978, to date.
Kekana lost his eye sight at the age of five, but has never let this stand in the way of fulfilling his dream. This concert aims to entertain and inspire those living with disabilities or who face challenges which may be regarded as stumbling blocks towards fulfilling their dreams. This is the reason for show’s title: Iphupho the Dream.
Kekana has over 20 albums to his credit and is one of the few artists who has managed to cross over varying genres, from Mbhaqanga, to Pop, Gospel and Soul. His decision to not confine himself to a single genre was frowned upon at the outset as it was believed that he would not be able to sustain a fan-base. But he proved his critics wrong and dispelled all myths about cross-genres, as to date he is amongst the most loved and respected local musicians of his time.
In the past, Kekana has also collaborated and featured on various songs with some of South Africa’s greatest musicians such as Joe Nina, PJ Powers, Soul Brothers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the late Nana Coyote. His unique and high range tone have always made him stand out from the crowd.
Born in 1958 in Zebediela, Limpopo, Kekana lost his sight at the tender age of five, and attended a school for the blind in Pietersburg. During his school years, he nurtured his love for singing, and was a member of amateur groups.
In 1979 and 1980, Kekana won what was then known as the “SABC Black Music Award” for Best Male Vocalist. Further awards followed, with the singer taking the “Top Male Vocalist” award on Radio Zulu, and being the runner-up on the Tswana and Sotho Radio Stations.
Since 2001, he frequently collaborated with fellow vocalist Nana Coyote, and his links with a younger generation were solidified through his association with singer / producer Joe Nina, who produced his most recent album “African Lady”. Kekana, Coyote and Nina regularly appeared on stage together, and recorded under the name “The Trio”.
Kekana holds a B Juris and LLB degrees, and has written on Intellectual Property from the perspective of a songwriter.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Simphiwe Majozi, an actor on the SABC 1 telenovela Uzalo, will be hosting and producing this first ever tribute concert to Steve Kekana.
Majozi, who plays the role of a ruthless criminal known to many as Sbu on Uzalo is also a director of Ikusasa Arts Development Projects (“Ikusasa”). The organisation focuses on developing and uncovering new talent, whilst celebrating artistic legends and icons in the music industry. He believes that young and old in the entertainment industry can have a mutually beneficial relationship, learning and growing from each other.
The Full Morty : The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre – 8:00pm, Friday, 31 March 2017
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 MORTY
Tickets : R120
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.
Tickets : R120
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.
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!
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
How 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!
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.
Koe’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, firstname.lastname@example.org or through computicket.com. Enquire about dinner-show specials and group discounts directly with the theatre on 011 883 8606.
Save the date! Showtime Management’s 10th Anniversary Production of RENT IN CONCERT takes place at Montecasino’s Teatro on Monday, 15 May 2017 at 8pm. Tickets are now on sale at Computicket. Presented by Showtime Management, this celebratory one night fund-raising concert features the much loved iconic and popular numbers from the stage production of RENT including Seasons of Love, Out Tonight, Without You, Will I and Take Me Or Leave Me performed by the original South African cast who reunite especially for this concert. They last performed together to rave reviews in the Tony and Pulitzer Award winning musical production of RENT, produced by Showtime Management ten years ago at the Alexander Theatre in Braamfontein and then Artscape, Cape Town.
I confess, I’m an official Renthead! From the first time I saw the show onstage at The Alexander Theatre I was hooked! So maybe I arrived at the Rent party a little later than others – but at least I got there, and I never left!
“One is tempted to return just to relive the glorious music,” raved the Tonight on 20 July 2007 and now “Rentheads”, fans of the musical and theatre-goers are invited to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy RENT IN CONCERT. Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme, the musical production of RENT follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished friends struggling to make it in New York’s East City Village as they struggle with relationships, drugs, loss, love, creativity, HIV/AIDS and paying their “rent”. This concert version presents the entire score sung and performed with minimal staging. It’s all about the music, the songs and the strength of the beautiful voices that will have audiences singing along or sitting mesmerized, longing for more. All proceeds go to HospiceWits whose “no end to caring” motto resonates with RENT’s themes of love, losing a loved one to a terminal illness, friendship and support. The music and lyrics written by Jonathan Larson performed by the South African cast tell the touching story though song.
“HospiceWits has provided the highest quality of care and support to hundreds of thousands of hopeful patients and families affected by life threatening illnesses in Johannesburg over the past 38 years. The funds provided by this event will be used for the continuation of that care in our compassionate environment which enables patients to feel supported and encouraged on the journey of life threatening illness.” says Joy Ruwodo, Marketing Manager, HospiceWits.
The cast is passionate about the concert and eager to give of their time to support HospiceWits. All the 2007 leads – including Shaun V who is flying in from Dubai – and some from around the country, sees Duane Alexander, Aubrey Poo, Zane Gillion, Thokozani “Zano” Nzima, Talia Kodesh, Sivan Raphaely and Ilse Klink together with fellow cast members Chantal Herman, Jaco Van Rensburg, Anton Luitingh, Megan Victor-Carelse and Lorri Strauss on stage on 15 May. New to this staging will be Phillip Schnetler and Nicholas “Nicksoul” Nkuna, who are looking forward to joining the original performers.
What started as a light-hearted Facebook chat about getting together for the 10th Anniversary of RENT is now becoming a reality. Hazel Feldman and Tony Feldman of Showtime Management, the original producers of RENT are lending their full support to RENT IN CONCERT and Montecasino, the concert host is providing the Teatro as the concert venue. Technical companies Gearhouse Splitbeam, ProSound and Computicket have donated their services while Music Theatre International New York and the Jonathan Larson Estate has waivered performance royalties, therefore greatly assisting in raising funds for Hospice Wits.
The concert also reunites the 2007 creative team of choreographer Jill Somers with Anton Luitingh and Duane Alexander who will recreate their performances in RENT as well as co-direct the concert version. Music Supervisor, Bryan Schimmel will once again, lead the band.
“Rent radically changed the Broadway musical in the 1990’s, so in keeping with our vision to continually provide world class entertainment that is unique to our venue, the Teatro at Montecasino is thrilled to be hosting this once off event to raise money for a very hardworking organisation such as Hospice Wits” Bryan Hill, General Manager, Teatro
No day but TODAY! Tickets for this one night only concert are limited and patrons are encouraged to book at Computicket as soon as possible. #RentConcertSA
BOOKINGS: Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket service centre.