- Review: Kinderspiel Puppet Theatre
- A review of Gilan Gork: Beyond the Mind
- Kids shows and live music
- Kids Theatre and Parenting Workshops
- Nutcracker on Ice at Montecasino- spending the night
- African Adventure is great family theatre – review
- Mama Mia at Montecasino, a review
- The magic of African Tapestry
- Jock of the Bushveld on stage, family entertainment at its best!
- Shaka Zulu, The Musical : a review
- The Jungle Book fulfils only the bare necessities
- The Little Mermaid : a review
On a recent Saturday morning, I took my 3 year old son to a puppet show at the Kinderspiel Puppet Theatre in Emmarentia.
Tommy was wary — he had seen puppet shows both on TV and at two birthday parties, and he did NOT like them. I had checked with Ruth Kellow, the owner of Kinderspiel, and she assured me that this particular show would be perfect for Tommy. And it was!
We attended the puppet show “Nogwaja Goes to School & Learns the Bunny Alphabet,” written by Ruth and performed by puppeteer Margaret Auerbach.
We were the first to arrive, so Tommy checked out the great selection of toys, many of them imported from Ruth’s homeland of Germany.
I took Tommy through to the puppet theatre to alleviate his concerns. He practiced sitting in the child-sized chairs in the front row, and we talked about the name of the puppet show and what it could be about.
Then the other children and parents arrived, and it was time for the programme. ”Nogwaja Goes to School & Learns the Bunny Alphabet” is about (you guessed right!) a bunny on his first day of school. First, Mother Rabbit prepared him and helped him put on his school clothes and his backpack. Nogwaja was worried, and Mother Rabbit calmed him down by giving him a good breakfast of a carrot.
At school, a teacher led Nogwaja through the alphabet and used real-life examples of many of the letters. The puppets pulled out actual cabbages, lettuces, tomatoes, and that’s when the interactions with the children in the audience reached a fever pitch. The kids were calling out the names of the foods and guessing the letters.
Tommy also guessed letters and called out answers. He participated fully, even though he climbed onto my lap for part of the show.
I loved the way the puppets “climbed” on top of the little theatre — the “roof” represented another scene altogether — the road to and from school.
Afterwards, we were so lucky to meet the puppeteer herself, Margaret Auerbach. Margaret told me she constructed the puppet theatre herself. She studied drama and art and loves to perform puppet shows for children — stories she writes and directs herself, also.
All in all it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Kinderspiel even sets up a bubble machine at the front door so the whole street fills with bubbles, which Tommy enjoyed chasing.
Take a look at the Kinderspiel and Kinder Theatre schedule to see when the next show is. Ruth is very helpful in advising which show is best for which age group.
Review by Shannon Walbran-Niebuhr, our DIY Kids columnist and a mommy blogger. She attended the Gilan Gork show as a guest of the Lyric Theatre.
With a healthy dose of rational skepticism, a friend and I attended the performance of Gilan Gork, mentalist and “spoon bender” at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City Casino. The theatre was packed with enthusiastic guests, and Gork made the most of the audience, inviting them up on stage in a perfectly random way by throwing a beach ball into the crowd — whoever catches it comes up. Luckily, we sat far away in the back.
He has an excellent stage manner: friendly, personable, serious when the moment calls for it. I felt myself drawn into his charisma, although I was still holding back my belief …
… until he did a session with a young woman in which he led her into a dream state. Without her saying a word, he “listened” to her dream. When she emerged from her light hypnotic state, he asked, “You were reaching out to someone who had passed away — a male, a cousin, who is now late, named, is it, Paulo?”
My friend and I looked at each other in shock. ”Paulo?” That’s not the first name you’d guess! The subject wiped away a tear and said yes, that’s exactly the person she had contacted.
Gork had me from then, and I loved the spoon-bending. We could actually see the spoon moving and twisting in his open hand.
According to the Lyric, this show is not suitable for under-3′s. However, I would not recommend it for anyone from 4 to 10 years old, as there are flashing lights and loud noises and spooky video inserts. For a teenager, it would be a thrill and a great topic of conversation afterward – “How did he DO that?”
If you haven’t discovered it yet, Jozikids.co.za is the most up to date and detailed resource for parents in the Gauteng region to find what you need including events, activities, venues, parties and lessons. You’ll also find us on your cell phone, twitter and Facebook.
Beatrix Potter Classics, Peoples Theatre, Braamfontein, Sep 3-Oct 7. Audiences young, old and in between can expect six of Beatrix Potters most beloved stories, including The Tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle, Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Johnny Town Mouse, Jemima Puddle and the Flopsy Bunnies, all beautifully told through her famous characters, brought to vibrant life by the talented cast,
Goggas New SA Musical, NCT, Parktown, Sep 10- Oct 13. Lady Caroline, a beautiful British butterfly, has accidentally landed in South Africa. Join Antony the picnic ant on his travels through Jozi to help her find her way home. On their journey they meet typical local “goggas”: like Lola the Ladybird, Conrad the wily Chameleon, and Boykie the befuddled Bumble Bee, the stick insects: Twiggy And Leafy, the ever pompous old Queen Bee, Hugo the “Joller”, Beulah the Black Widow spider and various other colourful creatures. She learns about the cultures and different languages and even manages to make new friends and find love. Does she want to return to London?
Johnny Clegg Live at Teatro, Montecasino, Sep 15-16
Johnny Clegg is a dancer, anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight. Whilst all of these tags are fitting, none of them can accurately describe the energetic, passionate human being who has become one of South Africa’s greatest musical exports. Clegg is an icon of South African music and he is coming to perform LIVE
Abdullah Ibrahim Solo Piano, Rosebank, Sep 14-16, Legendary Jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and the Circa on Jellicoe Gallery present a series of three solo piano concert. Experience the synergy of arts, with the moving and spriritual Compositions of Abdullah Ibrahim and the aesthetic ambiance of the Circa Gallery
RockFit, Kramerville, Sandton offers cross training and rockclimbing
If you haven’t discovered it yet, www.Jozikids.co.za is the most up to date and detailed resource for parents in the Gauteng region to find what you need including events, activities, venues, parties and lessons. You’ll also find us on your cell phone.
Charlotte’s Web National Children’s Theatre, Parktown, until Apr 14.
Charming tale about a little girl named Fern, who with the help of a friendly spider, saves her pig Wilbur from the usual fate of nice fat little pigs, Great music, superb sets, Striking costumes, exuberant cast and very interactive
Mon-Sat (school holidays): 10.30am; 14.30pm
Mon-Fri (school days): 9-11am
Cost : kids R80,adults R100
The Jungle Book Peoples Theatre, Braamfontein, until Apr 15.
Mon-Fri: 9am & 11am , Sat,School; Public Holidays: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Cost Kids club members R65, non members R99
Parenting on the Run, Bright Ideas Outfit, Bryanston, Mar 19.
How time spent in the car; doing household chores and activities or waiting for appointments, can be so valuable to both you and your child – it is never a waste of time This insightful talk is peppered with personal anecdotes and you will leave armed with over 100 creative and practical ideas for converted wasted time with your children into quality time. Another workshop planned for June if you don’t make it.
123 Magic! Effective Discipline Workshop, Randburg, Mar 24
This workshop gives parents and professionals a “how-to” simple and effective discipline strategy that just WORKS. Spend less time disciplining and more time having fun!
The Equal Zeal Challenge Wkshp for Teens, Faerie Glen, Mar 21. Learn how to set meaningful goals to help tackle the areas in adolescents life that need improvement, will start seeing without a doubt that they are a capable of anything. This workshop provides the foundation for use of a Zeal Challenge journal which includes 21 days of daily activities, and 50 weeks of motivational activities intended to lay the basis for a healthy self esteem. Each week the learner will be supported by a motivational sms intended to reinforce journal content.
Mobile Zoo, at JHB Exotic reptile & pet expo Mar 24 & 5
Come & see some of our exotic non venomous reptiles and pets which your child can experience & learn about. We will also be selling these creatures with their accessories, food etc if you’re planning to enlarge your family. We will have corn snakes, boa’s, pythons and over 50 species of tarantulas, cincilla’s, albino hedgehogs and much more weekend. Next to big Virgin Gym it’s the Randburg Sports Centre Cnr Hans Schoeman Str, Malibonge Dr, Randburg
by Merle Dieterich, passionate mom and businesswoman whose 2 beautiful children, Lerato and Marvin never cease to amaze and teach her about what counts. You’ll find her at jozikids.co.za
My daughter, husband and I had the incredible priviledge of experiencing what Montecasino calls their Show and Stay Package including dinner, bed, breakfast, show tickets and a programme. Wow, what a treat, one I would recommend to anyone needing a holiday around the corner.
In as long as it took for us to reach the palatial splendour of Montecasino we felt the strains and stresses of every day life melt away and were transported into another world.
First booking into a room that elicited oohs and aahs from my daughter who examined everything, the mirrors, square basin, a little stint trying out the bath and of course watching TV. Then down to the dining room for a delicious meal.
Then onto the show performed by the award winning Imperial Ice Stars. From the word go the colourful costumes, grand sets and most of all unbelievable ice skating sequences had us captivated.
Yes, it lives up to the blurb on the Montecasino website. It is ” choreography that further raises the bar, with ever more breathaking high-speed leaps and throws and awe-inspiring, acrobatics, coupled with the most graceful and sublime ice dancing”
After all the excitement, what a pleasure to simply catch the lift to our soft comfortable beds upstairs and then awaken to the most divine breakfast before returning to the humdrum of daily life
Thank you Montecasino for a a great Show and Stay.
by Martine Bauer, part time working mom of an 11yr old girl and a 4 yr old boy, passionate cook, reader and traveller. Visit her on Facebook
We recently took the kids to see the play African adventure and I really wanted to share our experience with your readers- all I can say is WOW!!! What a fabulous play. My 4 yr old, 11 yr old and us “ the geriatric parents” all had a wonderful time.
First off as we arrived there is an “interest table” in the foyer with all sorts of fossils/skulls/bones/pictures as well as a game ranger on hand to answer all questions popping out of enquiring minds- we could barely drag the kids away for the start of the play. The play itself was fabulous, the puppetry professional and there was enough “funny” to keep the kids and adults alike in stitches.
Then of course we had the moral story of protecting our rhino against poachers- so well done, it would be wonderful if all schools could organize a viewing for their learners. The best part- the play was only 60 minutes long ( no interval) and no time to get bored for a second!
Congratulations to all the cast and crew- I look forward to many more productions like this.
by Ariellah Rosenberg, mom to three daughters (8, 13, 17), working at ORT SA heading the Educators Empowerment division, can be found on Twitter @Ariellah and her blog . Lifelong learner , Google Certified Teacher.
“Thank you for the music … for giving it to me”- Thank you to the wonderful SA cast for giving us a local production to be proud of – Mamma Mia, a smash hit musical written by British Playwright Catherine Johnson, based on ABBA’s songs, and making Ssouth Africa’s proud of their local talent.
If you are still sceptical about Mamma Mia and local productions standards – think no more when booking for Mamma Mia in Cape Town or Johannesburg. The local cast all have impressive South African theatrical backgrounds ,, and some of the lead roles include Gemma Donnelly, Christel Mutombo, Stephen Jubber (as Sky)- delightful when shirtless, Carmen Pretorius (as Sophie), Ilse Klink, Kate Normington, Murray Todd (as Bill), Neels Clasen (as Harry), Anrich Herbst (as Sam) and Gina Shmukler (as Donna).
Mamma Mia is known as one of the most sensational musicals of all times, with songs composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Love it or leave it, the show has so far been performed in 13 languages, and according to the web, over 40 million people have now seen the show, which has grossed $2 billion dollars worldwide.
When I went to the show at Monte Casino, I had no expectations whatsoever about the show itself. After all, I thought, how can you compete with such huge productions worldwide and especially with the Mamma Mia movie, led by Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, and gorgeous Pierce Brosnan. Wow was I wrong! Gina Shmukler, playing the role of Donna was OUTSTANDING and accompanied by an amazing performance by the rest of the cast, it was just irresistible and hard to keep to our seats without jigging to songs like “Dancing Queen”, “Take a chance on me”, “The winner takes it all” and about 20 other of ABBA’s songs.
The story is about Sophie who is in her 20’s , on her wedding eve, wanting her father to walk her down the aisle (or as my 8 year old daughter said “walk her in the runaway”). She invites three possible fathers to the paradise Greek Island and starts her quest for her father’s identity. The show is embedded with humou satire and wisdom .. look forward to the South African witty pearls implanted in this local production.
Whether you’re an ABBA fan or not, do yourself a favour, spoil yourself and your family and go enjoy this fABBAlous Show!
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me!
Mama Mia is on at Montecasino in Fourways until Dec 12. Click here for more information.
by Fiona Ingram, a South African writer who loves books, travel, animals, antiques, and adventures of all kinds! Read Fiona’s author site and find out about her recently published children’s adventure novel
The National Children’s Theatre has produced yet another gem of entertainment for children under the expert guidance of director Joyce Levinsohn. Embracing the vast expanse of Africa’s diverse culture and precious heritage, African Tapestry weaves a wondrous tale of life in this continent. But this production not only celebrates life in Africa; it also highlights the frailty of our unique ecosystem and the precious heritage that is fast disappearing unless we, the caretakers of our environment, do something about it and teach our children to follow suit.
These timeless and topical tales of Africa are told via a talented and energetic cast who engage beautifully with their young spellbound audiences. The actors don the simplest of animal costumes because it is their cleverly executed movements and sounds, as well as enchanting characterisation that bring the regal lion, the greedy elephant, the forgetful kudu, the (really Cape flats) Cape vulture, the silly young pelican, the slow old tortoise and others to life. The tradition of oral storytelling with vibrant songs and dances spreads a message of Africa. Through these animal tales, the young audiences appreciate each animal’s role in our lives, as well as learning life’s lessons.
So often, difficult or contentious issues can be explained to a younger audience via the medium of theatre. Education teamed with entertainment has a great influence. Teaching environmental awareness in a fun way to kids is edutainment that makes a lasting impact. Issues such as poaching, conservation of the environment and animals’ lives, planet pollution, recycling, and some basic lessons such as listening to one’s mom all come into play in this magical production. There is great audience participation here as the animals teach the kids how one can protect animals from poachers; how to recycle and clean up the environment; and how man and animals can live in harmony if everyone just tries hard enough.
This enchanting show captivates audiences with songs of Africa, from old favourites (Pata Pata) to new favourites (The Waka Waka song), and the infectious rhythms played on authentic hand-made instruments soon had those little feet dancing about. The proof of a good children’s production is in how it keeps kids interested. On the day I saw the show, the audience simply loved African Tapestry! They all wanted to help the actors and be part of the show. Children remember what they enjoy and this show had all their attention from start to finish with many eager young participants getting a chance to lend a hand in making the magic happen.
Don’t let your kids miss out on this marvellous piece of authentic theatre—African storytelling at its best.
Suitable for children from four upwards
Click here to find details about African Tapestry, on at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown until Oct 9, 2010
by Fiona Ingram, a South African writer who loves books, travel, animals, antiques, and adventures of all kinds! Read Fiona’s author site and find out about her recently published children’s adventure novel
The mark of a great story is one that stands the test of time and South African classic Jock of the Bushveld is one of those stories. Entertainment for all ages, Jock’s adventures have found their home on stage. Jock of the Bushveld: The Musical is pure enchantment. From the moment the theatre lights dim and the audience hear the night-time sounds of the bushveld, the magic begins. This is family fun and enjoyment at its best.
The wonderful saga of Jock and his exploits takes us into a mesmerising world. Clever costuming creates the impression of the various animals Jock meets—from the stately giraffe to the frenetically trotting warthogs, to the gracious hippo, to the hip troop of ‘gangsta’ baboons. Jock’s lessons in life are all learned in his environment, and from his encounters with both his friends and his enemies. He learns about courage, fortitude, how to hunt, the meaning of true friendship, trust, love and loyalty, and the value of keeping one’s word.
The cast give a brilliant ensemble performance, weaving their way seamlessly from one animal character to another, and also playing the humans that Jock encounters. The animals are beautifully portrayed with actors’ subtle movements. Somehow the wiggle of a rear conveys the typical gait of the Mister and Missus Warthogs plus kids, while the ambling of Mama Hips the hippo lets us know exactly who she is. Interestingly, Leopard enjoys Tai Chi…
It’s impossible to pick out ‘best’ actors because they are all so good, and their voices are a joy to hear. Jock (Vaughn Gardiner) very ably portrays the brave-hearted, feisty Jock. The lady who steals Jock’s heart is a simply splendid French Poodle called Fifi, played by Suzzi Swanepoel. Fifi sings a rip-roaring ‘Hot Dog’ in one of the most enjoyable songs in the entire show. But the scene stealers just have to be the three vultures: Chérie, Boet and Bob. Reminiscent of the Three Fates and the vultures from The Jungle Book, they have some of the funniest lines and for good reason. Their pièce de résistance is a memorable song and dance routine called ‘Culture Vulture.’ Jock’s friend Chicken is another scene stealer. Chicken is the friend everyone wants in times of need. Brave, loyal and faithful, Chicken overcomes her (natural) fear of bigger animals with lots of huge teeth, and performs the most unheard of deed such as seeking out Leopard when Jock needs help.
The show is peppered with many typically local jokes and references. Some adults may find their kids pick up these before they do! Look out for Bob-E-Jahn and his bold and brassy gang of baboons. The African bushveld, specifically the Kruger National Park where Jock ultimately meets his end, is portrayed with amazing simplicity. A rotunda moves the actors from one setting to another, drawing the audience into various locations such as the campsite, the river, the leopard’s lair, the baobab tree.
As anyone who has read the book will know, Jock does meet a sad end, but in such a way that he simply exchanges one life for another, leaving the audience a little heartsore, but satisfied. For parents who are keen to encourage their children to read, this show is a delightful way to begin. Children will love the show and very likely will be keen to read more because of course, there’s always more to the story in a book.
Age recommendations: All ages from about 8yrs old.
Jock of the Bushveld – The Legend Lives On is currently being performed at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre until Oct 10, 2010 Click here for details
By Sholain Govender-Bateman - an experienced news reporter, magazine editor, freelancer, loving wife to Barry, mum of one beautiful girl, Isobel and someone with a passion for life and everything fun. Find her on twitter @sholain
Trying to merge South African history and theatre into an entertaining musical that appeals to a wide range of audience members is no easy feat, and unfortunately the creators of the current Shaka Zulu musical were not up to it. Whilst the narrator, Lindani Nkosi, and actresses Candida Mosoma and Nobunthu Mpahlaza, who play Nandi and Mkhabayi respectively, gave outstanding performances, other characters fell flat during the show that lasts over two hours.
The production, performed in English, shows the life of Shaka Zulu from birth to death and the set design and costumes are excellent. However, the story which includes Shaka’s brutal battles, family feuds and ongoing turmoil has lost a lot of historic value and impact in its now simplified form.
The music is original work composed by Johan Voster and has breathtaking moments as the cast harmonise. The solos by Mosoma and Mpahlaza are definitely worth going to the production and hopefully as the cast get more settled into their roles they will be able to give a performance worth remembering.
I don’t recommend this play for children below 12 years of age if you’re wary of introducing your child to the concept of violence too young. However, high school students may find the musical interesting especially if they are studying Shaka Zulu in their history lessons. As for adults, this isn’t the ideal date night production but if you’re keen on watching something different give it a try.
What: Shaka Zulu – The Musical
Where: State Theatre – Pretoria
When: From 26 June 2010
Cost: R145 – R245 (Computicket)