No shortage of theatre fare during these winter months – world class productions on offer

There are so many excellent and varied productions on offer over the next 6 weeks.  With a wide choice from ballet to comedy to drama, our theatres offer excellent value and first class productions.  Make the most of what’s on offer:

Jonathan Roxmouth (of recent Phantom fame) plays 15 characters as he revisits Gilbert and Sullivan in Topsy Turvy at the  Studio Theatre at Monte Casino. It runs until 5th August.

8 of South Africa’s funniest comedians take to the stage at the Teatro, Monte Casino from 11th -14th July in a show entitled  Mass Hysteria – Funnier than Parliament.   De Vries,  Rabinowitz, Lottering, Khoza, Morake, Vlismas, Lindi, Banks are the ‘eight headliners’ who will take on the mantle of our new national leaders. ‘They’ll take to the stage and give you something to really cry about’.

At the Joburg  Theatre the Imperial Russian Ballet perform Carmina Burana as well as the Act 1 ballet from Gounod’s Faust, the Adagio from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade, the Pas De Deux from Minkus Don Quixote and Offenbach’s Can Can Surprise. 3 shows:  Sat 14th and Sun 15th July at 3 pm and Sat 14th at 8. There are still tickets available.

!Aïa From Cave to Sky comes straight from the Grahamstown Festival to the Market Theatre.  The company Théâtre Taliipot worked with scientists, artists and traditional healers to produce a work which speaks to the origins of life and the relationship between  human beings and nature. The show which is is co-produced by Artscape and Nirox Foundation  is part of the France-South Africa seasons 2012 & 2013.;  On at the Market Laboratory 10- 15th July  R75 only for all performances

Opening on 13th July at the Market Theatre (until 19th August) is Craig Higginson’s new play Little Foot.  Situated on a farm in the Cradle of Humankind, this play takes the audience into the underground caves where the three-million-year-old hominin Little Foot was discovered.  From the press release: ‘In the play, we experience the caves through the eyes of a group of young South African university students – who went to school together and are having a reunion on New Year’s Eve, a year since they last saw each other. As the students delve deeper into the caves – and we travel ever deeper into their psyches and shared histories – a Chorus of ancient hominins steps through the walls of the caves. The play finally dramatises the coming together of our most primal and contemporary identities.’    Tues – Sat @ 20h00, Sun @ 15h00; Ticket prices: Tues – R75, Wed & Thurs – R95, Fri & Sat – R160, Sun – R120. Higginson is such an excellent playwright and with the multi-media staging produced by Malcolm Purkey and designed by Neil Coppen, it will certainly be a play not to be missed.

Another play that was sold out at the Grahamstown Festival is Red, John Logan’s 2010 Tony Award winning play. It opens at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square on 17th July and runs until 11th August.  This play focuses on the life and work of Mark Rothko and stars Michael Richard and Jeremy Richard. Produced by Daphne Kuhn, directed by Steven Stead and designed by Greg King it too promises to be a great production.

The Line looks to be a tough and challenging theatre experience.  Billed as ‘the culmination of multi-award winning Actor/Director Gina Shmukler’s Masters Research on trauma and theatremaking. Having spent several months in the townships The Line is constructed from a series of interviews with South Africans involved or affected by the xenophobic attacks that took place in May 2008. It explores the fragility of goodness and questions how the attacks were born, who is responsible, what makes good people do bad things and how one crosses the line? Delivered as spoken, verbatim style, The Line has been described as ‘powerful’, ‘chilling’- ‘a must-see’.’  PG 14  Showing from 18 July – 12 August at the Barney Simon Theatre Tues – Sat @ 20h15, Sun @ 15h15 Ticket prices: Tues – R75, Wed & Thurs – R90, Fri & Sat – R150, Sun – R115

The 19th century classical ballet Le Corsaire opens for a 10 day season at the Joburg Theatre on 19th July.   Michaela DePrince dances one of the leading roles at the ballet’s SA premiere on Thursday 19 July at 7.30pm.  She is scheduled to dance further performances on Friday 20 July at 7.30pm and Sunday 22 July at 3pm.  The story behind Michaela’s ballet success is extraordinary.  Now 17, she was born in Sierra Leone where she was orphaned at the age of 3 after the death of her parents during the civil war. She was further marginalized by a skin disorder.  History has it that on finding a picture of a ballerina in a magazine she became obsessed with the idea of becoming the ballerina in the photograph. Michaela was adopted by an American family when she was 4 and was taken to the US where she started ballet lessons. Her talent was soon recognized  and after winning prestigious accolades, she is about to join the prestigious Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York.

Ms. DePrince is one of the 6 ballet dancers who is part of the full-length documentary film, First Position, which follows the lives of young dancers as they participate in Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet competition. Michaela will attend the screening at the Joburg Theatre on Sunday 22 July at 11am and will talk about her participation in the film.  First Position premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was named the audience choice’s first runner up for Best Documentary. It also won the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Documentary Festival and the audience award at DOCNYC.  Showing at the Joburg Theatre from Sun 22nd July – Wed 25th July

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