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Posted on: Monday, 2 November 2009

Pinocchio Pantomime in Johannesburg from 4 November

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Adventures of Pinocchio

Adventures of Pinocchio

We have all heard of the story of the little wooden boy who was carved from a piece of pine by the woodcarver Geppetto and who was created as a puppet but dreamt of becoming a “real boy” named Pinocchio. This fictional character has been around since 1883 and has become a well loved tale and was certainly a firm favourite of mine whilst I was growing up.

And if you are in Johannesburg or its surrounding areas you will be happy to know that Pinocchio will be the biggest pantomime ever this year with 60 artists taking part. If you already au fait with pantomimes you probably call them panto’s and already have your tickets booked. However, if you do not fall into this category let me give you a little refresher in what the pantomime is … It is a singing, dancing, comedic performance that is usually performed during the festive season (Christmas and New Year). Think audience participation, a lot of laughs, an evil villain, the Panto Dame (think man dressed as really “beautiful” woman) and leaving feeling lighter and happier.

Janice Honeyman is synonymous with pantomimes in South Africa and this year she is not holding back as there will be a fantastic cast of 60 performers taking to the Mandela Stage at the Johannesburg Theatre from 4 November 2009 to 3 January 2010.

The loving character of Geppetto will be played by tv, film and stage actor Tobie Cronjé. I have very fond memories of him playing the role of the BFG (from a Roald Dahl novel) many years ago. If you remember the South African version of the show, The Weakest Link, you will most definitely remember Fiona Coyne. Her humour and sharp wit suit her perfectly in the role of the cat who is Pinocchio’s wicked accomplice. And the role of the fox is played by well know tv celebrity Terrence Bridgett (Chico in local soapie Isidingo).

Fiona Ramsay

Fiona Ramsay

Fiona Ramsay, who is a leading lady of the stage, returns to the stage after a 7 year absence from pantomimes and plays the character of the magical Blue Fairy. Sibu Radebe, who has won two Naledi awards (“Best Comedy Performer” and “Best Breakthrough Performer 2008”) has been cast in the role of Pinocchio. I certainly enjoyed him in the role of Lefou, Gaston’s sidekick, in the South African production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast earlier this year. And the ladies in the audience will be treated to a guest appearance from the heart-throb Jacques Terre-Blanche who became an overnight success thanks to the 2003 Idols series.

This year the cast is so large as there is a company of 25 dancers from the South African Ballet Theatre who are special guest stars. And the stage will definitely be full when all 60 cast members perform simultaneously.

If you need a little reminder of the story of Pinochio then here it goes. This is the story of Pinocchio who is carved out of pine by Geppetto. The story then goes on to tell us Pinocchio’s quest to become a real boy and along the way he has a number of adventures. He encounters some wicked characters who try to lead him a stray (the fox and cat), the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket who tries to steer Pinocchio in the right direction. The message of the story is Geppetto’s unconditional love for his son and is something we can all take with us.

How to book:
Tickets for this show are the same prices they were in 2007 and range from R171 to R222 per person. You can purchase your tickets at Computicket or if you would like to take up the group discount offer for groups of 10 or more then telephone the theatre’s VIP ticketing on +27 (0)11 877-6854.

And don’t forget that:
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

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