Monthly Archives: October 2014

#PeterPanPanto :-) – First full read-through of Panto 2014 script!!!

Happy days are here again!! It’s panto season again!!

Oh no it isn’t!!

Oh yes it is!!!

Oh no it isn’t!!!

Oh YES IT IS!!!!!!

So, it’s Monday 6 October 2014, almost 10h00 and we’re trooping through the intricate maze that is ‘Backstage’ at the Joburg Theatre! We arrive at our destination, and the excitement is palpable!! Here they are: the full contingent of cast and production team of this years pantomime production – Peter Pan – together with part of the Joburg Theatre social media team, gathered together for the first full reading of this year’s panto script!

Panto 2

Heads down ... let's read!

Heads down … let’s read!

Proceedings kicked off with an introduction and welcome by Bernard Jay – the theatre’s Executive Producer, who proceeded to introduce us to Michael Rubenstein of BankservAfrica, the panto’s main sponsor for the 4th consecutive year. And then on to inimitable Director Extraordinaire, Janice Honeyman, whose name is truly synonymous with our annual pantomime! Janice, together with Timothy Le Roux, knows exactly what audiences want, and knows even better exactly how to deliver, and how to stay on point with the panto’s ever-demanding, increasingly hip fans!

Finally it was time to actually begin reading the script and an upbeat, entertaining and highly amusing couple of hours followed. Everyone immediately embraced their characters, slipping easily into their assigned roles. Peter Pan is brash, confident and irresistable, Dame Clementina Coconut is hilarity personified and Captain Hook is up to his evil, devious pirate shenanigans! Throw in loads of witty references to local politics and well-loved brand-names, a couple of awesome gimmicks and surprises, and this year’s pantomime is undoubtedly a Winner!

Don’t delay in booking. The production is already over 40% sold out!! You really don’t want to miss what is always one of the highlights of the theatre calendar. Where else can you unashamedly cavort, singalong and just have a downright brilliant time?

What are you waiting for? Go … book … NOW!!!

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Theeee Script!

Panto 7

Peter Pan & Smee

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Captain Hook! Craig looking decidedly friendly and un-Pirate like!!!

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Tinkerbell 🙂

Panto 12

Dame Clementina Coconut … no really!!!! 😀

Panto 4

Smee (Bongi) making a point!

The Social Media gang ... doing what we do!

The Social Media gang … doing what we do!

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Review – BRAZOUKA!

Brazouka 61.

What a privilege to accompany Braz Dos Santos on his exhilarating journey from humble beginnings in a small Brazilian fishing village to the bright lights of Paris and beyond. Along the way we are introduced to the Orixas (gods) who tantalise and intrigue with their various gifts and temptations.

This is a high energy, slick and well-produced piece that brings the Nelson Mandela stage alive. The costumes are ideal, the lighting well-utilised, and the dancing and gymnastic ability of the performers all excellently highlighted, with dance moves and acrobatic antics seamlessly and effortlessly performed! One can easily forget the countless hours that must go into making it look that way.

Highlights of the show include the superb display of the Lambada (the ‘Forbidden Dance’). Who can forget the haunting notes of Kaoma’s music which made the dance world-famous, and indeed Dos Santos himself was a member of the original Kaoma group, touring the world with their unique blend of melody and dance?

Brazouka 72.

And which Brazilian show would be complete without a tribute to soccer – the beautiful game – for which Brazil is world renowned? This scene is truly faultless with numerous soccer balls being utilised in what can only be described as a breath-taking achievement of precision and vibrant energy that truly depict the passion which both soccer and dance inspire.

The performers do not waver for a second in their dynamic presentation, and by the end, the audience cannot wait to get on their feet and attempt to gyrate as flamboyantly as those on stage! It’s Hot! Hot! Hot! Catcalls and whistles, whooping and stomping were heard as everyone quite shamelessly participated in the exuberant fun!

Brazouka 93.Brazouka 84.

If I was to make any criticism, it would be that at times, Braz is difficult to understand, but I venture that the fault is probably ours, being un-used to his sexy Brazilian/Spanish intonation. The other point is that for a Brazilian show, it seems strange to have used a Scottish voice (Billy Connolly if I’m not mistaken) to introduce the Orixas. But truthfully, neither of these issues is enough to detract from the fact that this is thoroughly enjoyable entertainment of the finest calibre. If the objective of the show is to bring a love of the dance and rhythm that is unique to Brazil, to all those who watch it, then it unequivocally achieves it.

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(Photo credits:  1-4 Joburg Theatre)

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Review: 80’s Rewind at the Barnyard Rivonia

What can one say about Barnyard shows? You know you’re not going for the high-brow theatre experience!! If you want a fun evening of good, rollicking entertainment where you can sing along, clap your hands, and get up and dance, this is the place to go.

Of late, I have found that the calibre of the shows being produced by the Barnyard group have certainly improved in their level of sophistication and slick production. However, 80’s Rewind takes us back to a time (many years ago) when the Barnyard was very much in its experimental stage.

So … bad news first: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such appalling costumes in any stage production – ever!! An ill-fitting hodge-podge of what looks like scraps sewn together from every type of leftover, forgotten garment in the back of the wardrobe department, complete with a white tassled dress with long threads hanging off it! The entire show is a wardrobe malfunction of preposterous proportions! And by the way – I was there in the 80’s and although my memory may have faded with age, I don’t EVER recall a dress-code resembling anything close to what was worn on that stage last night!

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Barnyard 6

Barnyard 5

Out of the 3 female performers (2 singers, 1 dancer), only 1 met the criteria for a decent (Barnyard) performer (she could sing AND dance). The other female singer, clearly had no dance skills whatsoever and even struggled to co-ordinate waving her arms in the air when called to do so! It’s possible that trees during a hurricane are more graceful! That said, however, she does have a beautiful voice, but unfortunately this is diminished by her lack of stage presence. The dancer, however, did her best to make up for her fellow performer’s lack of … ummm … performance! Every single move she made was completely over-exaggerated, so much so, that it actually became painful to watch her and her attempts to detract from anyone else on stage with her! I was concerned that she might do herself (or someone else) an injury!

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Ok, so now that’s out of the way, on to the good news! The male performers surpass their female cast members by far! The band is excellent – particularly the lead guitarist, and the awesome female drummer! The drag scene, which seems to be a Barnyard tradition, is just brilliant, ending with an epic rendition of ‘It’s Raining Men’ (definitely one of the show’s highlights). If you’re looking for ‘camp’ without the tents and dodgy communal bathrooms, these guys really know how to deliver!  Barnyard 9Barnyard 8Barnyard 4Barnyard 7Barnyard 1

I also always tend to leave the Barnyard marvelling at the amount of hidden talent we have here in SA – and many of the performers in the various Barnyard shows I’ve seen are incredibly talented. Despite the many (really) bad elements of this particular show, it is still extremely enjoyable, especially if you love 80’s music, which only goes to show that whatever formula the Barnyard production team are using, definitely works.

Barnyard 10

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