The 10 best? .?.?. theatre productions

2014-01-19 14:01

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Get out your year planner as Gayle Edmunds takes a look at a few of the hottest productions that will be coming to a theatre near you this year

1 The Colored Museum

George C Wolfe’s play, which was first staged in 1986, is a series of 11 vignettes that satirises African-American culture.

This updated version, which premieres at the revamped Market theatre in Johannesburg, is directed by James Ngcobo, artistic director of The Market theatre.

February is Black History Month in the US and this play is a way of exploring the diaspora from a South African perspective. The play runs from Wednesday to February?23 at The Market theatre.

The big voices in Daughters of the King

2 Daughters of the King: An Easter Gospel Extravaganza

This is a retelling of the Easter story through a multimedia stage production featuring live music, song, drama and dance. It is told through the eyes of the women in Jesus’ life.

The biggest drawcards are the voices on the bill – Rebecca Malope, Gloria Bosman and Ntokozo Mbambo.

The show runs at the Mandela Theatre at The Joburg Theatre complex in Braamfontein from April?17 to April 21.

3 Coppelia

An inventor creates a life-sized dancing doll that a local boy falls in love with, leaving his real-life love, Swanhilda, high and dry.

While the story is a little tragic, it’s a wonderful spectacle of dance, costumes and sets. It makes for a good starter ballet for children if you missed last Christmas’ The Nutcracker at The State Theatre.

Coppelia is at the Mandela Theatre at the Joburg Theatre complex from March 7 to 23.

Playland is set at a fairground

4 Playland

Athol Fugard’s play, once described by John Kani as “the first reconciliation production performed in South Africa”, is at The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town from Thursday to February 15.

Featuring Mbulelo Grootboom and Albert Pretorius, it will be performed in Afrikaans with English subtitles on a screen.

Set in 1990, it is a story about the meeting of two opposites at a fairground – an ex-serviceman and an ex-Swapo fighter, and the unexpected things that happen.

The Rocky Horror Show

5 The Rocky Horror Show

The towering Brendan van Rhyn has been introducing his “faithful handyman” and building his creature for Cape Town audiences since July last year.

Richard O’Brien’s transsexual/intergalactic mashup musical first took to the boards in London in 1973.

In 2014, Dr Frank-N-Furter and his crew of out-of-this-world characters are coming to Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from Friday until March 30.

Bethany Dickson and Andre Swartz

6 The Sound of Music

With more songs you know by heart than any other musical, the tale of the Von Trapp family’s escape from Austria and the Nazis was immortalised on film by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

Their roles will be filled by Bethany Dickson (who was Sandy in Grease) and Andre Swartz (who was The Phantom before Jonathan Roxmouth).It runs at Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre from February 19 to March 29 and at The Teatro at Montecasino from April 5 to June 8.

7 Missing

John Kani’s latest offering is the familiar tale of a returning exile who finds he’s not welcome by the new democratic powers.

It raises issues about what “going home” means to someone with a foreign wife and a “mixed-race” child raised elsewhere.

The play features Kani, Susan Danford, Apollo Anthoney and Buhle Ngaba, and runs at Joburg’s Market theatre from June?4 to July 7.

Peter Pan is this year’s pantomime

8 Peter Pan

After the delights of magic lamps and flying carpets last year, this year’s annual pantomime is an adaptation of JM Barrie’s tale about the little boy who never grew up, Peter Pan.

Silly songs, rapid changes from one outrageous costume to another and some flights to Neverland are to be expected.

The pantomime marks the start of the festive season. Craig Urbani is the croc-shy Captain Hook and Bongi Mthombeni gets the comic role of Smee.

Peter Pan runs from November?5 to December 28 later this year.

The National Arts Festival is 40 years old

9 National Arts Festival

This is the 40th year of the National Arts Festival, which will take place from July 3 to July 13 in Grahamstown.

Every year, there are hundreds of shows to choose from. This year is likely to be a bumper one as the festival celebrates its fourth decade and South Africa celebrates its 20th year as a democracy.

Rebecca Makin-Taylor in Expectant

10 Expectant

This one-hander is performed by Rebecca Makin-Taylor and explores 400 years of colonial history from the perspective of young, white, English-speaking South Africans.

The protagonist is expecting a child and wonders if she can bear to see her own uncertainties replicated in her child. The play explores how we cope with identity in a nation where we define ourselves once we’ve labelled everyone else.

Expectant runs at the Barney Simon Theatre at The Market theatre complex until February 2.

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