Janice Honeyman’s brand new pantomime adventure will give festive season audiences a reworking of a bona fide popular classic: that most famous of English outlaws; the man dressed in Lincoln green – ‘Robin Hood’.
Honeyman’s ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ will take to The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre from November 5 to December 30.
The plot combines the babes-lost-in-the-forest story with the Robin Hood legend. The young children, Hansel and Gretel, come to visit their uncle, the Sheriff of Nottingham, little suspecting that he is plotting their demise. But never fear, help is at hand – in the shape of Robin and his Merry Men, plus Maid Marian and the Spirit of the Forest.
Playing the role of Robin in his first Joburg Theatre pantomime is Izak Davel, best known to TV viewers as ‘Isidingo’s’ arrogant Bradley Haines, and whose hit recordings include ‘Verlei My’, ‘Is Jy In Of Is Jy Uit’ and ‘Vreesloos’.
Much loved panto star Desmond Dube returns to Joburg Theatre to play the jovial Friar Tuck; ‘Idols’ finalist Bongi Mthombeni features in his fifth Joburg Theatre pantomime as the dandy Will Scarlet; and leading lady of South African musical theatre, ‘Kate Normington’, will surely be wildly comic as Silly Sylviana, the Spirit of the Forest.
Also featured in ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ are Graham Hopkins as the villainous Norman the Nasty, Sheriff of Nottingham, L J Urbani as the ever-popular panto Dame Emmarentia Ugly, Phumi Mncayi as chief lieutenant of the Merry Men, Little John, award-winning actress Candida Mosoma as Much the Miller’s Son (written with an inevitable panto twist), Carmen Pretorius as Robin’s love interest, Maid Marian, and Jaco Van Rensburg as the wandering minstrel, Alan-a-Dale.
Writer/director Honeyman once again collaborates with producer Bernard Jay on their sixteenth Joburg Theatre pantomime together. Rowan Bakker joins the team this year as musical director; Nicol Sheraton returns as choreographer; the eagerly anticipated, over-the-top sets and costumes are once again supplied by Qdos in the UK.
“It’s an exciting year for us when Janice Honeyman writes a brand new pantomime script,” says Bernard Jay. “We don’t know exactly what to expect until the last minute, but we do know it will be full of her magical flair for story-telling, spectacular special effects, zany comedy and outrageous double entendres.”
The earliest surviving Robin Hood ballad, ‘Robin Hood and The Monk’, dates from the 15th century. Subsequently, the legend has become one of the most popular movie and TV stories of all time: from ‘Robin Hood and His Merry Men’, a 1908 silent film; to British television’s long-running series, ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1955-59); to 1973’s ‘Walt Disney’s Robin Hood’; to Mel Brooks’ hilarious ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’ (1993); and to the 2010 movie ‘Robin Hood’, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe.
Preview performances on The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre are on November 5 and 6, with tickets from R170. Its official Opening Night is scheduled for Sunday, November, and the season continues until December 30, with tickets priced from R220.
Over 30000 tickets have already been sold for this year’s panto, so best hurry not to miss out on one of South Africa’s most popular family entertainment traditions.
Tickets are available by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com, or calling 0861 670 670, as well as through Webtickets and at Pick ‘n’ Pay stores. For group bookings of 10 or more, contact the theatre directly on 011 877 6853/6815.
For details of the full schedule and performance times, visit www.joburgtheatre.com.