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
‘Visiting Mr Green’, currently onstage at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square has been getting such rave reviews that Daphne Kuhn has added an extra (final) show – Sunday 10 June, 3pm.
This exceptional production features superb performances from both Michael Richard and Roberto Pombo. It’s most ably directed by Alan Swerdlow with a set designed by Denis Hutchinson, that will instantly transport you into the typical realms of a Manhattan inhabited by those who still maintain their own little corner of Eastern Europe … in America.
Be prepared to run a gamut of emotions as you enter the home and heart of elderly Mr Green, struggling to come to terms with facing life without his beloved soulmate. He’s alone with his fading memories until young, sassy executive, Ross Gardiner unexpectedly shows up, tasked with spending time with Green as community service in return for almost knocking him over!
Together they manage to navigate the choppy waters of what it means to be alone in modern Manhattan, dealing with the judgment, intolerance and narrow-mindedness of others, about all manner of matters. And surprisingly they realise they have a lot to learn from each other, as well as a lot to share.
Visiting Mr Green is absolutely unmissable! It is heartwarming in a way that many modern scripts just aren’t. This year it celebrates its 20th anniversary!
Book through Computicket or by calling the theatre in 011 883 8606.
Back by popular demand, Joburg Theatre is proud to present Woza Albert! by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon, on The Fringe Theatre stage from Friday 1 June – Sunday 17 June.
Woza Albert! will always remain as one of the most vibrant examples of satirical anti-apartheid South African Theatre, demonstrating innovation and creativity during one of the most pivotal and ground-breaking periods of theatre in this country.
Woza Albert! is still a relevant story today, which is why it’s a school set-work in the South African GDE school curriculum, and therefore essential viewing for learners. The theatre piece offers a great tool for audience development while assisting with the school curriculum. The play portrays so much truth and clarifies a simple approach to the human condition, therefore making it continually relevant to South Africa.
Segomotso Modise and Hamilton Dlamini play the roles of various black South Africans – a vendor, barber, domestic worker, manual labourer and soldier – each receiving the news that Christ (Morena) has arrived in South Africa, where they live under a Calvinist, white elite imposed apartheid.
2018 SAFTA award winner for Best Actor – TV Soap/Telenovela, Hamilton Dlamini, had a starring role as bumbling private investigator TT in the Mzansi Magic comedy series Boomba and TT, in 2012. In 2015 he had a starring role as Mnqobi Simelane, a self-made man in his 40s who is in a polygamous marriage with two wives and a possible third, in the e.tv drama series Umlilo.
Segomotso Modise started his theatre career in 2005 starring in a production titled ‘Question Mark’ which earned him the award best actor in the leading role in the stop crime drama festival. In 2014 he made his musical debut when he starred in MARIKANA – THE MUSICAL by Aubrey Sekhabi which walked away with 6 Naledi awards, and after a sensational performance in the musical he was called to star in the recent musical TAKING BACK THE FUTURE by Tshepo Ratona and Presley Chweneyagae. His television work includes an awareness ad for children and women abuse and a Guest appearance in a popular local sitcom Ga Re Dumele. His international tours include Germany, Amsterdam, Austria, Poland and the UK, with various acclaimed award winning plays like ‘Interracial’ & ‘Rocksburg’, to name just a couple.
These two theatre veterans make it easy for audiences to relate in the new South Africa, where people are desperate for a better life despite their political freedom. The parts played by Bheki and Hamilton show off their skills in acting, mime, singing and dance. They also have the unique ability to create images using a few words and actions.
The play is a political satire that imagines the second coming of Christ in apartheid-era South Africa. It looks at a wide range of characters in South Africa at the beginning of the 1980s and attacks the pass laws that prevented Black people from moving freely at the time. The production uses the metaphor of Morena (Jesus) to show what would happen if he came back to South Africa during apartheid. Would he like what he saw? And if he saw the atrocities of the time then why would he not do anything about them?
Woza Albert! will be on stage at The Fringe Theatre @ Joburg Theatre from 1 – 17 June 2018.
There are morning performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11h00.
Fridays and Saturdays at 20h00.
Sundays at 15h00.
Organisers reveal exciting new format
Pretoria, May 3: This year’s Top 12 Miss South Africa finalists have been announced as the pageant proudly celebrates its 60th anniversary, with a dramatic and exciting change to its format.
Traditionally, during the final on pageant night, the top 12 finalists are reduced to five, from which a second princess is announced, followed by a first princess and then the winner.
This year, following the cut to the top five finalists, the organisers will go straight to a top two announcement. One of the pair will be named Miss World South Africa and one will receive the title of Miss Universe South Africa. Both will go on to represent South Africa on the global stage in each respective competition.
However, as there can be only one reigning Miss South Africa, the two winners will be asked one final question by the judges as the pageant draws to a close. Their answers will then determine who is crowned as the official Miss South Africa 2018.
The Top 12 finalists, who each receive a prize package valued at R180 000, come from six of the country’s provinces – five from Gauteng; two from KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape respectively and one each from the Free State, Mpumalanga, and the Western Cape. They’re an extremely impressive group, including several medical, science and law students and a number of BComm and BSc graduates.
They are (in alphabetical order of their first names):
· Akile Khoza (23) from Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga who is studying for her Masters in neuroscience at Stellenbosch University.
· Anzelle van Staden (25), from Centurion in Gauteng, has a BComm degree from the University of Pretoria and is currently a full-time model.
· Bryoni Govender (21), from Kempton Park in Gauteng, is a third year LLB student at the University of Johannesburg.
· Daniellë de Jager (20) from Benoni, Gauteng, is currently studying biokinetics at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
· Karishma Ramdev (23), from Chatsworth in KZN, is a fifth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria.
· Margo Fargo (25), originally from Heidedal in the Free State, has a BSc consumer sciences honours degree and is a co-founder of a NPO.
· Noxolo Ndebele (24), from KwaNongoma in KZN, has a BComm Acc degree and worked as a financial controller.
· Tamarin Bensch (25), originally from Bedfordview in Gauteng but now living in Somerset West, works in property management and interior renovations.
· Tamaryn Green (23), from Paarl in the Western Cape, is in her final year of medicine at the University of Cape Town.
· Thandokazi Mfundisi (23), from East London in the Eastern Cape, is a final year LLB student at Fort Hare.
· Tharina Botes (21), from Roodepoort in Gauteng, is a first year BComm marketing and business degree student at Damelin and a part-time model.
· Thulisa Keyi (26), originally from East London and who now lives in Gauteng, is currently doing her articles after graduating from the University of Cape Town.
The Miss South Africa Organisation (Cell C and Sun International) has the exclusive licences for the Miss South Africa title holder to compete annually in both the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. Traditionally, the reigning Miss South Africa competed in both these international competitions. However, if Miss South Africa won on the international stage – as Rolene Strauss did with Miss World in 2014 or there was a conflict with dates that overlapped (which happened last year when Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters lifted the Miss Universe title) – the first runner-up was called upon to represent South Africa.
Says Suzette van der Merwe from Cell C on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “In 2018, we’re adopting international best practice in terms of our finalist judging in order to ensure that our contestants are given a bigger share of the global spotlight by strengthening our pageantry presence internationally. We are delighted that this new format will give two finalists the opportunity to represent South Africa and enable them to prepare thoroughly in advance.”
Adds Gareth Flusk from Sun International on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “We are thrilled with the calibre of the finalists in our 60th anniversary year. Any of these contestants would do us proud on the international stage. We are delighted that this year two women will be given the opportunity to shine.”
Miss South Africa 2018, the Diamond Jubilee spectacular with host Bonang Matheba, will take place on Sunday, May 27, at Sun International’s new flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria.
Tickets for this year’s pageant are available at TicketPro and cost between R160 and R560. Bookings can be made at: www.ticketpros.co.za
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
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.]
The 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.
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 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!
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).
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.