In 1987, at the Alexander Theatre in Braamfontein, writer/director Janice Honeyman created her first pantomime, based on the classic fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Now, 31 years later, Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay present Janice Honeyman’s Snow White, The Fairest Panto in All The Land, opening on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre on November 3 and running until December 23.
While the cast of this year’s pantomime took a day off, I caught up with Ben Voss to find out more about this much-loved Johannesburg spectacular. Voss is an actor, comedian, writer and producer.
He has written, produced and starred in the hit shows Green Mamba (2006); Black Mamba (2008) and Mamba Republic (2017). However, he is perhaps best known for his alter-ego Beauty Ramapelepele who has been a regular voice on Jacaranda FM, East Coast Radio as well as the Roger Goode Show on 5FM.
In Snow White, Voss will play the role of the Wicked Queen Hildegonda Hoggenham. “I have been playing a black, female alter ego for 10 years now.
The further the alter ego is from who I actually am, the more interesting, because it allows me to satirise everything between.
“If I, as a 45-year-old white male, claim to know about the experiences of a township gogo, no one will buy it. However, when Beauty, a 55-year-old woman born in the township, takes an angle on the same subject the audience forgives her even though they know it’s me acting. It’s strange and wonderful,”
Bigger and more spectacular than ever, the classic evergreen story of Snow White has been brought to life once again from page to stage in an enchanting production complete with an all-star cast, stunning sets, beautiful costumes, breath-taking special effects – including a never-before-seen-inSouth-Africa,
amazing interactive journey into the forest in 3D.
Also in the all-South African cast are Desmond Dube, John Robbie, Kiruna-Lind Devar and Tshepo Ncokoane. I asked Voss how it feels to be surrounded by such talented individuals: “Desmond has largely guided me through the strains of a nine-show week and brings solidity to our cast.
"He is the bedrock that everyone spins around."
“John Robbie is a fantastic storyteller and brings a wealth of worldly experience and a very positive and contagious spirit to our family. Also watching rugby in the canteen in full panto dress-up with him has been a highlight.
“Kiruna is drop-dead talented, beautiful and the loveliest young lady you can imagine. Think of how sweet Snow White might be in fantasy land, then double it. That’s Kiruna”, he says.
“Tshepo is the guy who keeps you smiling all day. He also holds the cast together socially. I’m not blowing smoke up asses here. These people are amazing.”
Tickets range from R245-R375 and can be booked at www.joburgtheatre. com or call 0861 670 670.
Patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick n Pay stores.