On sunday afternoon I was lucky enough to go to the opening of the annual end of year pantomime at the Joburg Theater. Every November/December there is a pantomime which is written and directed by the fabulous Janice Honeyman. Surprisingly, I had never gone to a Pantomime before, I had only ever heard about the spectacular end of year event. So when the opportunity presented itself I was super excited to go and see the show live!
As we walked into the theater I turned around to my brother and said “This is SO beautiful!” The stage backdrop was beautiful designed with stars and glitter. From the first moment I knew we were in for an absolute treat! Beautiful seemed to be the word of the afternoon with every design element out doing the previous one.
The show really was a feast for the eyes. The set design was enchanting and really placed the audience in the center of the story. The palace garden scene had some stunning elements. I particularly loved how members of the cast were used as statues in the garden. I don’t think the joburg theater is given enough credit about how wonderful their stage is. To display the tower where princess Aurora- Adora pricks her finger, the stage was moved into different levels which transformed what was a flat surface into a high tower.
The costumes automatically caught my eye and were designed so well. There was not a single cast member that looked out of place. Every costume was created with such detail and precision that I was blown away by how magical every person on stage looked. You cannot have a fairy tale without beautiful costumes and this show did not disappoint! The wedding costumes at the end of the show were so eye catching that I wanted to attend the wedding, just so I could dress up in one of the many spectacular ball gowns.
In staying with the word of the afternoon, I have to give mention to Christopher Jaftha who played Prince Harry Hunkador the handsom. Boy, is this guy handsome! The moment he came on stage all the woman in the audience could not take their eyes off of him. The whole cast in fact where all so strong. I especially loved Tobie Cronje’ who played nutty Dame Nora Nursey. He was so funny and everyone packed out laughing when he arrived onto stage. Michelle Botha who plays the wicked fairy Kakkamella Khakibos was also a stand out for me. She brought such a presence to the stage and as evil as she was, her performance was effortless.
Something that Janice Honeyman does so well is make her work relevant. She incorporated contemporary hits like ‘Uptown funk’ into the show which kept the classic story up to date. She also incorporates South African culture into the performances which adds a whole new level of comedy to the production. Using Afrikaans lingo mixed with moments of political humor is what makes her pantomimes so unique and proudly South Africa.
I loved every second of the show and by the end we were on our feet doing the whip nay nay. Just as we thought there were no more surprises left, when we left the theater there was a huge sweet bar that had been set out for the audience. Lindt chocolates and marshmallows galore! It was such a nice touch to add to the fantastic experience.
The show is full of surprises but I cannot disclose these for you because you need to experience them for yourself. Sleeping beauty the Pantomime is showing at the Joburg Theater till the 30th of December. Trust me, you do NOT want to miss out on this magical adventure! Young or old, this show speaks to everyone.
To book tickets go to http://www.joburgtheater.com