Janice Honeyman’s Pantomime: Cinderella Review

PANTO IS BACK!

After nearly 20 months of dark stages and empty theatres, Janice Honeyman’s annual Pantomime lit up the Joburg Theatre and our faces!

Once upon a time in 2020, there was a young girl named Cinderella who was originally planned to take the stage. It was later announced that Cinderella would only be able to attend the ball in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was worth the wait!

Featuring music from the likes of Miley Cyrus, BTS, and Camilla Cabello, expertly arranged by Musical Director, Dale-Ray Scheepers, we were singing from start to finish. However, a beat was missed with the song Senorita… “I love it when you call me Cinderella” would have been perfect! The choreography by Nicol Sheraton was slick and complimented the songs perfectly. The stunningly colourful (as always) threads were perfectly coordinated by Bronwen Lovegrove, and helped to transport us straight into the magic wonderland of Cinderella. TheatreZA also particularly loved the quirky and comedic sounds put together by Akhona Bozo, and we can thank Johan Ferreira for the spectacle that is the lighting. As always, the panto felt like a rock concert, and the beautiful colours made for the unique spectacle that we’ve come to expect every year.

One of the many “wow” factors of the production came from the 500 LED screens, projections, and 3D graphics creating the set and giant props that integrated with the live performances of the cast – a massive shoutout to Andrew Timm as Production Designer. It can be tough to make these elements combine smoothly into a cohesive whole, but Timm has pulled off a masterpiece.

As for the performers, Kiruna-Lind Devar was her usual magnificent self as a triple-threat – singer, actor and dancer – in the title role, once again winning our hearts and taking the industry by storm! Kyle Grant as the smooth (like Butter) Prince Charming oozed cool and class throughout the show. Dolly Louw as GogoMama (the Fairy Godmother), Graham Hopkins as Baron Horace Hard-Up and Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri  as the prince’s friend, Dandini, all stole scenes with the wit and comic timing we’ve come to expect from Janice Honeyman’s pantomimes, and reminded us of their star power – which they all have in droves. 

As always, the Ugly Sisters were an absolute HOOT! The hilarious Desmond Dube as Fanny Flatulina and the brilliant Ben Voss as Flossie Flemerina had us in stitches every time their uglinesses took the stage. An absolute showstopper is perennial favourite Bongi Mthombeni as Buttons with one of the most beautiful voices in the show, culminating in his performance of Elton John’s Your Song while playing piano.

The company’s energy and chemistry was undeniable and infectious (Ed: too soon?), featuring the talents of Tarryn Heard, Venolia Manale, Arno Meyer, Kenneth Meyer, Noni Mkhonto, Brian Ngobese, Funeka Peppeta, Kaylan Sabbadin, Musanete Sakupwanya, Jonathan Blaine Shore, Justin Swartz, Dezlenne Ulster-Weale and Stephan Van Der Walt. Their incredible energy and passion made the show an absolute joy to watch. The audience loved it from curtain up to curtain down, and the classic audience sing-along was a magnificent reminder of the joy of being in an audience after so long away!  A massive congratulations to the company for holding the fort down, as they truly are the heart and soul of the production.

It is everything you could hope for from a pantomime – world class talent on display with expert execution. It is a fun-filled roller coaster with its unique South African twist and flavour. Take the kids and the whole family to a day at the theatre and help get our industry back on its feet – in glass slippers!

Cinderella is on at the Joburg Theatre until December 24th. Tickets are available at the box office and on the Joburg Theatre website.

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