Aladdin is the annual Janice Honeyman pantomime at the Joburg Theatre while The Sleeping Beauty on Ice will enchant families at The Teatro at Montecasino. Both of these productions run past Christmas into the dreaded week between Christmas and New Year. It is however wise to book for them now as they tend to sell out. The Sleeping Beauty on Ice only opens on 5 December 2013.
Ending just before Christmas on 22 December 2013 (24 December in the case of Cinderella) are the wonderful Children’s Theatre productions at The People’s Theatre, Joburg Theatre Complex, the Promusica Theatre in Roodepoort and the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown.
At the Promusica Theatre in Roodepoort you will find a production of Disney’s The Aristocats which I reviewed earlier this year when it was at The People’s Theatre. I enjoyed it then. It only opens on 9 December 2013.
Already on and recently seen by me, Cinderella is The People’s Theatre production for Christmas, directed by Jill Girard and Keith Smith. This classic tale is always heartwarming and my favourite moments in it are when the children in the audience get to try the slipper, for “every girl in the land must try the slipper”. I love to see the faces of the little ones when they realise the possibility that they will get the prince – and then don’t. They know the story, and they accept “reality” so readily.
Set design is by Marius Bosshoff, with costumes by Linda Wilson and musical direction by Heidi Edeling. The “adult” (for some of them are very young) cast consists of Emma Hayden as Cinderella, Henck Conrey as Prince Charming, Sanelisiwe Jobodwana as the Stepmother, Sipho Hlongwane as the Grand Duke, Candice Weber and Jaydene Marais as the ugly stepsisters, Silindile Sibiya as the Fairy Godmother and Thabo Kunutu as the King.
The story is the traditional one and it is bound to please the little ones.
Also already running and seen, Seussical Jr is on at the National Children’s Theatre. It has only been three years since this was last produced to critical acclaim, but it is an entirely new production (barring the costumes by the brilliant Sarah Roberts which have been recycled). Dr Seuss holds a great appeal even to adults and despite that fact that I have seen this several times it remains fresh and charming.
Seussical Jr is directed by Francois Thereon and features Abel Knobel as The Cat in the Hat who appears from everywhere and from nowhere and Grant Towers as Horton, the Elephant. The others in this enormously talented cast are Nomonde Matiwane, Devon Flemmer, Michael Wallace and Masengo Mothibakgomo.
The space is imaginatively used and the whole production is enormous fun for both children and adults.
This runs at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown until 22 December 2013.