It’s that time of year again – the rat race has reached a frenzied pace and everyone’s feeling the heat … in more ways than one. The rains haven’t come around but there’s one thing that’s always on time in Joburg and that’s Janice Honeyman’s Pantomime at the Joburg Theatre. It’s the escapism we need to round off the year and Sleeping Beauty delivers a huge dose of laughter and romance with brilliant sets, amazing costumes, a clever script oozing with ridiculous puns, contemporary music and a stellar cast to bring the magic together.
In case you don’t know, Sleeping Beauty is the fairytale of a beautiful princess who is cursed at her christening by a wicked fairy who wasn’t invited … she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday and die. But the Good Fairy Floradora Daisy offers some hope – she adds her gift to the spell to ensure that the princess won’t die, but will fall into an enchanted sleep for one hundred years, waking when she’s kissed by the one she loves, Prince Harry Hunkador the Handsome!
Members of the cast include SA’s favourite panto star, Toby Cronje, who plays the outrageous Dame Nora Nursey with aplomb and clever comical timing, receiving a standing ovation from the delighted audience at the opening performance. Top Billing’s newest presenter and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Sexiest Man (2010) Christopher Jaftha returns to panto as Prince Harry Hunkador the Handsome. Christopher’s seriously hunky good looks are matched with his sinuous dance moves and gorgeous voice, making him the ideal prince!
Nicole Fortuin is adorable as Princess Aurora-Adora , as are her friends, Miemsie Mouse and Maaikie Mouse, played by Dionne Song and Matthew Berry. Maryanne van Eyssen shines as Fairy Floradora Daisy, while other favourites include L J Urbani as King Daffy Dum Doodle, Michele Levin as Queen Dolly Dum Dilly and Clive Gilson as Jester Cracker-Jack.
Well-known Timothy Moloi is positively hilarious as Sir Poensface Ponce-a-Lot – and wow, that man can sing – he blew me away! And of course, the crowd favourite is always the baddie, this time played most excellently by Michelle Botha as the Wicked Fairy Kakkamella Khakibos. Her entrance is as astonishing as her exit, she commands attention and she had the audience roaring “Oh no, you won’t!” at the tops of their voices.
Special mention must go to the beautifully rehearsed youngsters from the Joburg sports and dance training academy Art of Motion as well as the rest of the talented cast. It’s fun stuff! Janice Honeyman’s award-winning creative panto team consists of Timothy Le Roux (resident director), Graham McLusky (lighting designer), Trevor Peters (sound designer) and Nicol Sheraton (choreographer).
Sleeping Beauty will run until 30 December 2015. Tickets are R215, R260, R300 and R340 – and are available by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com or calling 0861 670 670. For group bookings of 10 or more, please contact the theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.
Words by Paola Chellew
Photographs by Mariola Biela