Cinderella (2021): A magical pantomime

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No amount of flattery is going to get the stepsisters – Flossie Flemerina & Fanny Flatulina (Benn Voss & Desmond Dube) anywhere with Prince Charming (Kyle Grant) Image: enroCpics

Christmas and Janice Honeyman’s pantomime at the Joburg (formerly the Civic) Theatre is synonymous. It was, therefore, with alacrity that I accepted the invitation to attend… and what a treat it was!

The pantomime is an age-old tradition which dates back to the 1500s, originating, believe it or not, in Italy where ‘comedy, clowning and audience interaction’ was encouraged via Commedia Dell’arte. However, it was only when this artform reached British shores that the pantomime dame became a real hit.

Over the years, Janice has honed her skills giving this humorous, slapstick musical format a truly South African twist… and, in addition, a 21 Century ‘coat of paint’. Making use of modern technology and FX effects as well as introducing dialogue to which everyone (young and old) can relate, Janice has created a production which is an absolute MUST SEE!

A wave of the wand …

There is no need for me to delve into the tale, for it’s one that everyone knows. However, the characters are entirely another matter!

I have to admit I have fallen in love with Donkey Houtie (Justin Swartz). Not only are his antics hilarious, but his dexterity is jaw-dropping and his voice melodious. Bru’ Buttons (Bongi Mthombi) comes a very close second … when he sits down at the piano and begins to sing…. One just wants more and more.

Although the tale revolves around Cinderella (Kiruna-Lind Devar) and her transformation into a magnificent princess, everyone of the characters take centre stage when it comes to a pantomime, for the laugh-a-minute slapstick action wouldn’t exist without them. From GogoMama – the merry fairy godmother (Dolly Louw) to the vain, pretentious stepsisters Flossie Flemerina (Ben Voss) and Fanny Flatulina (Desmond Dube) who has no control of the ‘air’ she releases.

Yet another gem is Lady Ginjah (Noni Mkhonto) whose preoccupation with her cellphone and selfies is sure to endear her to many. The interaction between Prince Charming (Kyle Grant) and Dandini (Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri) causes some consternation amongst Cinderella and Lady Ginjah, but it all ends well… of course, what would a pantomime be without a closing wedding?

Not to be left out in the cold is Graham Hopkins as Baron Horace Hard-Up – father to Cinderella and her graspingly avaricious sisters.

Pyrotechnics, magnificent graphics and audiovisual effects have enabled the creation of sets which enhance the imagination without breaking the production budget.

Booking

The venue is The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre.

Booking is through Webtickets

Credits for photos: enroCpics; Review: Ali Gordon – Catalist Editorial

 

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