“A visual feast…for the children in the audience Pinocchio is a delight…introducing gobsmacked kids to the wonders of theatre via a flood of music, singing, dancing, humour and drama.”
Bruce Dennill, pArticipate
“The cast radiate such energy and enthusiasm…jokes abound, as they should…the show is fun, colourful, energetic and bubbling over with laughter and music…taking us through to Candyland via a sumptuous, scrumptious, life-size choo-choo…Crafted with Janice Honeyman’s meticulous magic…it’s a vigorous, colourful production with something for all.”
Jennifer de Klerk, Artslink.co.za
“A rollicking fun romp…an appealing and entertaining addition to the holiday menu…Janice Honeyman has achieved another magical milestone in a majestic career.”
Peter Feldman, Artslink.co.za
“Local jokes that are seamlessly interwoven with a classic fairy tale, some risqué satire, inspiring localised humour, larger-than-life characters and sets that will blow your mind away…‘Awesome’ is a word that comes to mind as you watch a train racing across the stage, or an octopus blinking at the audience…once again Janice Honeyman delivers the goods and presents a production that dazzles, hypnotises and takes your breath away…Take yourself, your granny, your overworked husband, your tired mom and your bored kids to find a new meaning in life!”
Leon van Nierop, Artslink.co.za
“This year’s Pinocchio is marvellous! It has everything you love and expect from the panto, and more! Always more!…In its entirety, the whole cast gave top-notch performances that had me hooked from beginning to end…It’s that perfect feel-good-Christmas-vibe-end-of-the-year escapism that Joburgers need…It’s the complete treat for everyone.”
Waydene Laing, Blogger
“Pinocchio delivers wave upon wave of dazzling costumes and dizzying movements…one gorgeous scene is swept away by another…a feast of spectacle.”
Lesley Stones, Artslink.co.za
“Janice Honeyman has a gift of knowing the perfect recipe to thrill her audiences…there’s just the right balance of innuendo, political lampooning and catchy tunes (both new and old) to hold the attention of all ages throughout the show.”
Janice Leibowitz, glitterandtoast.com
“This year’s pantomime feels like Christmas! It is fresh and energetic, as silly as it should be and very entertaining…the production’s songs are known to the kids who bop along…Loud, funny and more than a little crazy, put Pinocchio on your holiday activity calendar – you won’t regret it.”
Gayle Edmunds, City Press
“I am always in awe of Joburg Theatre, especially how year after year, when the silly season snakes its way through the city, we are treated to another enchanting piece of Pantomime magic…the tradition of Joburg’s yearly festive season has charmed audience members, both young and old for decades. It’s encouraging to witness crowds flock to The Mandela stage of Joburg Theatre to get their fix of celebratory fun…and laughter is the one medicine we don’t need a prescription for…With a touch of fairy dust and a whole lot of colourful fun, Pinocchio is that perfect Christmas gift waiting to be unwrapped!”
David Simmons, Stage and Screen
Just to say the name Tobie Cronjé (Geppetto Spoletto) is almost enough to start people laughing. Probably South Africa’s best known comedy actor, he has for nearly five decades been entertaining audiences with his performances in theatre and operettas, film and television and even as a director of various dramas. But, more than anything, Tobie’s name has become almost synonymous with pantomime in South Africa, playing the lead in dozens of these festive season productions throughout much of his career. Tobie received great acclaim for originating the role of the woodcarver Geppetto in the premier production of Janice Honeyman’s Pinocchio in 2009.
South African born André Schwartz (Il Fortunato, the Fox) is one of this country’s leading and best loved entertainers. A multi-faceted and talented performer who is equally at ease in front of a camera, in a recording studio or on stage, André has entertained South African audiences since the age of 14. André has released fifteen albums, many of which received gold status. His leading roles in musical theatre include Abanazar in Janice Honeyman’s pantomime Aladdin (2006), Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Making her Joburg Theatre pantomime debut is Chi Mhende (Pussy Galore, the Cat), an acclaimed performance and voice artist. Chi has worked extensively in the theatre, having performed in Shakespearean roles in Cape Town and in 2014 was awarded Best Actress at the Durban International Film Festival for her leading role in the feature film Love the One You Love. In July 2015, Chi accepted the role of Wandile Radebe on SABC’s Generations: The Legacy, a role that came with much controversy and chatter, questioning the producers’ casting of a female performer in a male role.
This year’s pantomime at Joburg Theatre sees a return to the age-old tradition of a female ‘principal boy’, when performer Kanyi Nokwe plays the role of Pinocchio. Kanyi is a member of the Nokwe family – now headed by her aunt Tu Nokwe – one of South Africa’s most famous musical families and sometimes called the Jacksons of Africa. Kanyi was born in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, completed her Matric at the National School of The Arts, obtained a diploma in Worship Ministry from Rhema Training Centre in 2011 and portrayed the role of a young Dorothy Masuku in the Market Theatre’s production of Divas of Kofifi.
Ilse Klink (Bella Bouboulina, the Blue Fairy) is a South African actress and singer best known for her role as Vanessa Booysens on SABC3’s Isidingo from 1999 to 2007, for which she won an Avanti Award for Best Actress in a Soapie in 2000. She also starred as Fashion Week CEO Miranda Simons in the Mzansi Magic telenovela Inkaba, from 2012 to 2013. Born in Cape Town, Ilse’s many starring roles in musical theatre include Chicago, Rent, The Full Monty and Mamma Mia!
Garth Collins (Strombolio / The Ringmaster) is probably best known for his role as Granite on the hit television show MTN Gladiators (SABC3). He has been cast in international feature films such as Mercenary for Justice, Red Waters and Berserker – Hells Warrior. Garth also spent three years on the Afrikaans KykNet soapie Villa Rosa, where he played the endearing henchman Blommie. His two major theatre acting credits have been the world premiere of The Quiet Violence of Dreams and Kiss of the Spider Woman. One of Garth’s career highlights was competing in Season 5 of Strictly Come Dancing on SABC2 as one of the celebrity dance contestants. Surprising everyone, he managed to stay in all ten episodes – making it to the semi-final before being eliminated!
Also featured in the all South African cast are (in alphabetical order) Mauritz Badenhorst, Cameron Botha, Jay Hlatshwayo, Saxola Ketshengane, Ben Kgosimore, Sebe Leotlela, Dolly Louw, Andile Magxaki, Noni Mkhonto, Thami Njoko, Chloe Perling, J P Rossouw, Kaylan Sabbadin, Mark Tatham, Grant Towers and Sarah-Ann Van Der Merwe.
2017 celebrates Janice Honeyman’s thirtieth annual festive season pantomime. Pinocchio is written and directed by Janice Honeyman, with musical direction by Coenraad Rall and choreography by Nicol Sheraton. Timothy Le Roux is resident director and Dale Scheepers is band leader. The pantomime is produced by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay, in association with MNet, Jacaranda FM and Your Family Magazine.