“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”Walt Disney
On at the Joburg Theatre this weekend, The Man & The Mouse – an original Disney revue written by and starring Brett de Groot – takes the audience on an authentic, magical journey that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of imagination that Walt Disney embodied in his life and work.
De Groot begins at the beginning and weaves an engaging story from one classic Disney animation to the next, conjuring up familiar images and adding great details and backstory to some of the most famous films. De Groot is a magnetic and charismatic presence on stage, effortlessly switching from story to song throughout the entire production.
It is the songs, as always, that carry the true Disney magic. Many are beautifully rearranged here, adding some fantastic new shades to well-known classics while still keeping them familiar enough to sing along to. David Cousins and his band – Lindzi Wiggins, Cole Matthews, and Stephen Haiden – are exceptionally tight, well-rehearsed and at a perfect level so as to not overshadow the vocalists. They are also part of the show, as they are placed on stage, and their reactions and interactions are measured and never detract from the action going on around and in front of them.
The three women – Kiruna Lind-Devar, Lerato Gwebu, and Louise Duhain – bring the rest of the stage to life whenever we are lucky enough to see them, singing and dancing with that wonderful, childlike joy that I find to be so inseparable from the idea and memories of Disney’s classic songs.
I found myself bouncing and singing along to every tune in the show, which covers a broad timeline from the very first Disney animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, right up to December’s Mary Poppins Returns, with a song or two from every popular and well-loved Disney animated musical along the way.
The set is ideal for a show like this, allowing for plenty of space while still evoking the Disney zeitgeist with a magnificent mouse head and ears at the back of the stage, used to great effect while lighting the cast in silhouette.
The central message of the show, of Disney’s push for inclusion and acceptance all through their numerous films, is keenly felt in the song choice, and is always timely and relevant to any audience. This show is an absolute must-see for Disney fans, and will leave you with that magical Disney feeling – everything is possible if you just believe.
The Man & The Mouse is on at The Lesedi at the Joburg Theatre from July 26-28. Tickets are available at www.joburgtheatre.com or through WebTickets.