BERNARD JAY FOR JOBURG THEATRE PRESENTS: Craig Urbani and Bongi Mthombeni in
PETER PAN - THE PANTOMIME
Lighting Designer - Graham McClusky
Musical Director - Roelof Colyn
Sound Designer - Trevor Peters
Costume Coordinator - Bronwen Lovegrove
Choreographer - Timothy le Roux
Associate Choreographer - Shelley Adriaanzen
Executive Producer - Bernard Jay
Associate Producers Simon James and Claire Pacariz
Written and directed by - Janice Honeyman
Publicist - Collett Dawson
Up the curtain, dim the lights, shush the audience and up the music - the Panto has begun and we're On The Streets of London Town! That's how it was when Peter Pan spun his magic and flew into our lives last week. We felt like kids again when we had the privilege of seeing Janice Honeyman's current pantomime, Peter Pan.
Look, look! It's the Darling nursery, and there's Nana bounding around the room, but who's that flying in the window? Who's that sprinkling fairy dust around? Look, mom! Peter Pan's FLYING!! So are Wendy, Michael and John!
Peter Pan is done in a magical way with fast, seamless transitions between scenes and sets. I had a small reservation before the show, that it would be too 'South African' and modern, and not traditional enough. I have a personal preference toward tradition. But Peter Pan got the balance just right. There's just enough to let you know that you are seeing a production of a South African show, but also just enough tradition to remember the beloved story of your youth. Michael Riff Themba as Peter Pan blitzes around the stage turning everything he touches into magic, Thembsie Matu as Tinkerbell gives a down to earth, funny performance and Joanna Abatzoglou, Emil Haarhoff and Clint Lesch are touching as Wendy, John and Michael.
The show features Bongi Mthombeni as Smee. We saw him last year as Wishee-Washee in Aladdin, and of course he first came to prominence in Idols 2010. This young man has gone from strength to strength and in my personal opinion his performance in Peter Pan is his finest yet. He's a young man and I'll watch his career development with interest - he is a well rounded and talented performer.
I wonder if Janice Honeyman with her long involvement in South African theatre, in particular the pantomime, realises just how much value she has brought to the lives of ordinary South Africans. Incredibly, Peter Pan is her 28th pantomime, with the first one having been Snow White at the Alexander Theatre back in 1987 (reprised in 2008)! Janice
I have to make special mention of the work of the musical director, Roelof Colyn. I recently saw Roelof in "A Handful of Keys" and I am phenomenally impressed by his talent. He helped make "A Handful of Keys" turn into a room full of music and comedy, one of my best ever experiences in theatre, and the same is true here. He made some daring and adventurous musical melodies and arrangements which completely and utterly helped make this an all round wonderful production. He was also musical director of the hysterically funny Spamalot. I only came across him this year, but it's confirmed, I'm a fan. For life.
Also, you want Collett Dawson of The Colab Network to be your publicist. She's the driver behind one of the most dynamic and diverse teams I've come across.
Christmas must be here people, because the PANTOMIME has come to town! If everything in Joburg was like The Joburg Theatre, the city wouldn't have to call itself a world class African City. Everyone would just know it was world class.
Peter Pan is a treat. But don't take my word for it. Go and see it for yourself. It runs until 28 December and you can book here.