BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN playwright, actor and comedian Ben Voss is set to don a frock again – but not as his popular, satirical alter ego, Beauty Ramapelepele. This time he is to wear gowns and crown as the Wicked Queen in Janice Honeyman’s sumptuous Snow White pantomime, headed for Gauteng’s Joburg Theatre soon.
The show, billed as a more spectacular revival of the panto that writer-director Janice Honeyman created for the Alexander Theatre in Braamfontein 31 years ago, in 1987, will feature musical direction by Coenraad Rall and choreography by Nicol Sheraton. Bernard Jay serves as executive producer of this, his 18th Janice Honeyman pantomime.
The production will be staged at the Nelson Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre from November 3 to December 23.
Voss, who will play the role of the Wicked Queen Hildegonda Hoggenham, set up the production company Mamba Productions, together with friend and Spud author John van de Ruit, and they have produced and performed the comedy skit shows Green Mamba and Black Mamba across the country and in London.
“Each year Joburg Theatre audiences expect us to exceed with surprises and to go over-the-top with spectacle,” says Jay. “Janice Honeyman and the team have been ‘shopping’ for effects around the world and I know that this production of Snow White will live up to our panto reputation in every aspect.”
Among the visual treats, he explains, will be an amazing interactive journey into the forest in 3D.
now White is doomed to live unhappily ever after with her horrid stepmother, the Evil Queen. The seven dwarfs were surprised when they found a princess inside their home! Snow White took one bite of an apple and fell into a deep sleep. The Evil Queen had poisoned her! When Snow White awoke, she was charmed by the dwarfs: Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful and Sleepy. But then, in a true rags to riches story, Snow White manages to meet a handsome prince and make all her dreams come true.
South African movie, television, stage and comedy star Desmond Dube will be starring in what will mark his fifth Joburg Theatre pantomime, playing the comic role of Dame Dolla Diddledaddledoodledragons. Desmond is best known for his movies Hotel Rwanda and Hopeville, the TV series No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Friends Indeed and Suburban Bliss and his roles in the Amaglugglug and Clientele Life commercials.
Popular 702 talk radio show host and international champion rugby player John Robbie makes his pantomime debut in Snow White as The Major-Dumb-Ou of the Royal Palace of Cool Cornucopia. John recently retired after 30 years on 702, having built an unrivalled reputation on air for professionalism, integrity and fairness. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once told John Robbie that his show was not a radio show but a mission!
Snow White also features two of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed rising theatre stars, Kiruna-Lind Devar (Sweet Charity, Saturday Night Fever, Evita) as the Princess and Tshepo Ncokoane (Janice Honeyman’s Sleeping Beauty, Priscilla, The Color Purple) as Prince Chuck B Charming.
Also in the all-South African cast are Oscar Buthelezi, Matt Counihan, Sne Dladla, Daniel Keith Geddes, Emil Haarhoff, Dirk Joubert, Saxola Ketshengane, Sebe Leotlela, Dolly Louw, Namisa Mdlalose, Noni Mkhonto, Sabelo Radebe, Senzesihle Radebe, J P Rossouw, Kaylan Sabbadin, Nicol Sheraton, Nkanyiso Shezi, Lindo Sithole and Sarah-Ann Van Der Merwe.
Performance times vary according to the festive season schedule – consult www.joburgtheatre.com to get exact dates and times.
Tickets range in price from R245 to R375 and can be booked at www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670. Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.
Snow White is presented by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay in association with the panto’s much valued and long-term partners, MNet, 94.2 Jacaranda FM and Your Family Magazine.