SHOW: Kipper and the Queen Bee
Director: Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck
Cast: Crystal Donna Roberts, Dean Balie, Elanza Swart, Marlo Minnaar and Esther von Waltsleben
Venue: Artscape Theatre until September 1
Reviewer: Rafiek Mammon
Imagine walking into a theatre and it looks like it is empty. But you have never been so mistaken. For, little children are filling the seats from the front row to the middle of the theatre. And then more pour in until the theatre is filled with theatre-goers none of whom are older than about twelve. They are all very well behaved with a lustre in the eye, eager to see this rendition of ‘Kipper’ and to see what magical world they will be transported to this time. Then, the lights go down, and all hell breaks loose as 400+ children scream in unison.
And, at this stage, you might be thinking: is this a futuristic tale I am spinning? It is not; it is exactly what happens at every show of ‘Kipper’ – one of the best (if not the best) children’s theatre shows in the city.
Always engaging and edifying, the team consisting of Crystal Donna Roberts, Dean Balie, Elanza Swart, Marlo Minnaar and Esther von Waltsleben in the acting department and Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck in the director’s chair, yet again bring to its diminutive audiences nothing but their “A” game.
This time the adventure takes us to the world of bees that requires immediate intervention or else we would be without honey and all else they are connected to…like the flowers. But it is when they find out that the chocolate world might be in danger, that the protagonists really step up their game. Wim (played by the endearing and multi-talented Balie), Wilma (a very versatile Roberts) and Vlooi (a perfectly animated Swart) go off on the escapade, taking all the children in the audience along with them as though they were the little bees that need to assist, singing and dancing, in order to save the last surviving beehive. On the way they meet a wannabe Queen Bee – an always delightfully charming and funny Esther von Waltsleben – and Marlo Minnaar’s interpretation of a smoke monster that had the kids doddering with fear.
As is usually the case, the humour comes thick and fast and what is always remarkable about these productions is that they never skimp on production values – the stage design is effective and the cast top-notch. These are celebrated actors and a team of theatre makers who clearly believe in the future of the theatre industry. They will not “talk down” to the children but rather find interesting ways to educate ensuring they do not offer our future paying theatre-goer a watered down version of the magic that is theatre.
* Please note: the production is presented in both English and Afrikaans. Check the dates below to choose your language preference.
Afrikaans: August 31 & September 1 at 9:30am and 11am. English: August 21 to 28 at 9:30am and 11am. Tickets are R70 and R55 for block bookings.
To book, call Louise Engelbrecht on 071 688 3033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.