The 10 best ... family-friendly theatre shows

2013-12-08 14:00

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Siyabonga Sithole and Jeanette Chabalala pick out 10 must-see theatre productions for the family during the holiday season


1 Aladdin Pantomime

#AladdinPanto trended on Twitter on its opening night at The Joburg Theatre in October. Janice Honeyman’s annual Christmas production has become a fixture of the holidays and Aladdin doesn’t dissapoint. It’s had rave reviews from bloggers, critics and throngs of thrilled kids. Jeremy Mansfield steals the show as the evil Abanazar. Aladdin runs until December 29 2013. Ticket prices start from R130.

Hansel and Gretel show

2 Hansel and Gretel

It’s more than 200 years since the Brothers Grimm wrote Hansel and Gretel and it remains one of the world’s most loved stories. Director Fred Abrahamse will make you fall in love with it all over again with this slick, beautiful production in Cape Town. Marcel Meyer is behind the musicHansel and Gretel runs at the Baxter Flipside until January 11 2014.

Blood Brothers

3 Blood Brothers

The third longest-running musical production in West End history has arrived in South Africa courtesy of David Kramer - and starring Bianca Le Grange. Willy Russell’s hit musical tells the story of two brothers born into poverty and separated at birth who meet up again by chance when they fall in love with the same woman. The adapted version is set in 1960s District Six in Cape Town and follows two families who have been relocated to Parkwood and Elfindale. Blood Brothers runs at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre and Studio. Tickets cost between R100 and R280.

Cinderella for kids

4 Cinderella For Kids

The most famous mistreated step-daughter in history is turning pumpkins into coaches in Joburg this year. This time the fairy tale meets Disney on stage, directed by Jill Girard and Keith Smith. It’s full of colour and robust characters. Slip on your glass slippers and take the kids along for Cinderella’s journey as she overcomes the odds and falls in love with her Prince Charming - aided and abetted by some cunning mice. Disney’s Cinderella Kids runs at the People’s Theatre until December 24. Tickets cost R105.

African adventure

5 African Adventure

Lynette the Posh Giraffe, Malcolm the Funky Monkey and Olivia the Ostrich Diva must embark on a terrifying quest to help their rhino friends, Ricky and Rachael, out of danger. It sounds like this family musical set in thebushveld is pure, unmitigated fun, but it has a crafty educational message about the horrifying poaching of rhinos. You don’t have a big window to see it, though. African Adventure starts on Wednesday and ends on Friday at The Lyric theatre at Gold Reef City. Tickets cost R95 per person.

Seussical JR

6 Seussical Jr

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living,” said the legendary Dr Seuss. The National Children’s Theatre has taken the best in nonsense drawn from his books and converted it to stage. Courtesy an energetic ensemble of professional actors, the audience will meet the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz and Mayzie La Bird. Seussical Jr runs at the beautiful old theatre in Joburg until next Sunday. Ticket prices start from R90.

Criss Cross Christmas

7 Criss Cross Christmas

Noel is a self-absorbed and perpetually ravenous reindeer. Carole is a selfish, gift-grabbing, foot-stomping little fairy. And Holly is a well-meaning, long-suffering elf who bears the brunt of the others’ tempers and demands, all the while trying to infuse them with the true spirit of the festive season. Criss Cross Christmas runs at The Zone at Suncoast Casino in Durban until December 24. Tickets cost R65.

Mzansi Thandeka and the Magic Shoe

8 Thandeka and the Magic Shoe

This is a foray into indigenous children’s theatre, played out against a traditional backdrop of rural KwaZulu-Natal, complete with kraals to create an authentic ­rural feel. The narrator is herding cattle and telling the tale of Thandeka and how she lost her mother at infancy. Her loving father raises her until he remarries. Enter an evil stepmother with her equally evil daughters and you have a homegrown Cinderella. Thandeka and the Magic Shoe debuts at the Drama Theatre at the State Theatre on Thursday. Tickets cost R50.

Tin Soldier

9 The Tin Soldier

This ballet, based on the well-known Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a tin soldier who wins the heart of a ballerina, comes to Cape Town this holiday season. It is an adventure and fantasy-filled love story. The music of Alexander Glazunov is arranged by Alan Stephenson and will be played by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, while Robin van Wyk choreographs. The Tin Soldier opens on Wednesday at the Artscape Opera House until December 24. Tickets cost between R100 and R225.

Sleeping Beauty on Ice

10 Sleeping Beauty on Ice

The Imperial Ice Stars return to local shores after a worldwide tour with a fairy tale love story set to the music of Tchaikovsky. Artistic director Tony Mercer teams up with distinguished Russian Olympic coach Tatiana Tarasova for the spectacular 26-strong cast production featuring deft movements, high-flying ice dancing and visual effects. The troupe has performed more than 2?000 shows around the world over the past eight years. Sleeping Beauty on Ice runs at The Teatro at Montecasino until January 12 2014. Tickets cost R150 to R400 per person.

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