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Even those who aren’t on holiday think they are. Here’s a round-up of the big festive productions that should keep you entertained around the country wherever you might be
South African State Theatre, 320 Pretorius St: 012 392 4000: Tickets at Computicket.
It’s the annual Mzansi Fela Annual Festival that runs until December 15. Tickets R20 to R350 at Computicket.
Opera: Music is huge, with these shows the ones that will attract the crowd: Parlotones, on December 12; Khuli Chana, who demonstrated on the Idols finalé that he combines well, performs with Mi Casa, on December 13.
Lira, followed by DJ’s Night, featuring Black Coffee, DJ Guru and DJ Dinoi, December 14.
Theatre Productions showcase old and new works, with tickets at only R50.
The intriguing Gugothandayo, by a group described as the Witbank Grannies, is at the Arena tonight and tomorrow. It’s an exciting yet touching story of abogogo (ageing women) that takes the audience on a journey through music and storytelling, reflecting the hardships such women experience daily in their communities and homes.
Their strength is in their voices, as age to them is merely a mathe- matical term.
Moving into Dance presents The Triumph at the Drama Theatre (also tonight and tomorrow), which has an educational heft.
This is a company always worth watching. This performance celebrates the triumphs of the human spirit and the tribulations endured by many whose lives continue to be affected by the fight for equality. Ray Phiri was involved in it musically.
Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Fifth St, Sandton, 011 883 8606 book on 083 377 4969 or Strictly Tickets:
Tarts is a revised musical cabaret by Kevin Feather, with choreography by Owen Lonzar, featuring Judy Ditchfield and Ilse Klink, with young’un Caitlyn Clerk, which ends on December 21. It’s just right for this time of year, with the women all stunning singers who want to give you a night that pumps.
Popart Performing Arts Centre: Next to Arts on Main, 286 Fox St, Joburg. Book at www.popartcentre.co.za.
This is one of Jozi’s hottest precincts, so catch the exquisite Sfeer, a multi-media show that investigates the nature of place and belonging, starring Daniel Buckland, Naomi van Niekerk and Arnaud van Vliet, from December 12 to 15. It uses art and performance theatre to tell a story that’s both visually and emotionally rewarding.
Joburg Theatre Complex, cnr Loveday and Hoofd streets: 011 877 6854: book at 0861 670 670, see www.joburgtheatre.com.
The Mandela Theatre:
Gauteng cannot survive without its annual panto. This time it’s Aladdin, as always, written and directed by the unstoppable Janice Honeyman. She knows how to draw the crowds with her locally flavoured dialogue and casts that excite with their expertise and youthfulness. This year’s yum factor is Christopher Jaftha, with Tim Maloi and Jeremy Mansfield, the boys with the comic chops. It’s for all in the family and ends on December 29.
Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre:
Montecasino, cnr William Nicol Drive and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways: 011 511 1818.
David Kramer’s adaptation of Willy Russell’s smash hit, Blood Brothers, is in town until January 4. Audiences love it unconditionally and it’s a marvellous tearjerker for this time of year. It’s an emotional cleanser as Bianca le Grange and Elton Landrew lead the pack to tell a story of monumental heartache. But while the story is being told, the cast’s sheer talent bowls you over.
And surely, this is a better production than they would have put on in London?
Studio Theatre: 011 511 1818:
It’s a return for the glorious Michael Richard’s My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy, written by come- dian Steve Solomon as a one-man play, with the local actor playing the part excellently.
The title will already indicate whether this is your thing. It’s the kind of work that taps into Italian roots with a story that will be familiar to a country of immi- grants. And aren’t we all? It runs until January 5. Tickets R150 at the Box Office, 011 511 1818, or at Computicket
This is tailor made for the holiday season. Even though it might make your teeth curl, don’t allow it to. These theatrical ice-skating ballets are something quite extraordinary and great care is taken to keep them as close to the original as possible. But this is extraordinary entertainment that won’t disappoint.
Sleeping Beauty on Ice, with the Imperial Ice Stars, December 5 to January 12, tickets R150 to R400 at Computicket. Tuesdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 6pm; R100 to R350.