Entertaining kids is big business. They are perhaps the toughest critics, and performers need to work their hardest keeping their attention, while taking them through an imaginative journey, singing perfectly in tune to the songs and trying to maneuver in those costumes.
That is why I take my hat off to the entire cast and team of Winnie the Pooh Kids production at People’s Theatre. As a young 20-something, the story took me down memory lane of all my favourite Winnie the Pooh stories all amalgamated into one. The whole gang is together from Pooh Bear, little Piglet, grumpy Rabbit, Aussie Kanga and baby Roo, melancholy Eeyore, quick-talking Owl, bouncing Tigger and not forgetting young Christopher Robin. Staying true to the essence of Winnie the Pooh stories, kids learns about friendship, being kind, helping one another, and the best places to find some honey!
It’s a visually exciting piece, as the stage fully becomes the Hundred Acre Woods, complete with tall trees, rabbit holes, and bee hives. The sound effects and projected images bring the stage to life and further enhance the painted river under the bridge, which almost takes poor little Piglet! Beautifully made costumes that ring true to each character that you hope to expect.
The performers look natural on stage, even the children’s cast of Christopher Robin and baby Roo. Although sometimes you miss, what looks like some really cute lines due to lack of articulation, their facial expressions and energy light up the stage. The ensemble works well as a team and support one another through out, especially when Eeyore’s tail fell off. These performers have definitely done the work for their craft. The musical score will have you singing the songs on the car ride home, and your heart will be full. Winnie the pooh, whoo!
While the production is fun, exciting and everything you want in a good children’s production, much of my experience while attending the opening night was blurred by a rather disruptive audience. As much as I love when the characters interact with the children, and breaking the fourth wall, it does have the potential to confuse the young audiences as to when exactly are the appropriate times to shout back at the characters. Hence some unqualified narration by a group at the back, fueled by laughter of some audience members. And yes, of course this is a children’s production, which allows the kids to bring their snacks into the theatre and munch loudly on their popcorn, but this is also the perfect opportunity to practice theatre etiquette.
Directed by Jill Girard and Keith Smith
Musical Staging: Sandy Dyer
Musical directior: Dale Scheepers
Costumes: Linda Wilson
Lighting, Set Design and Audi-Visual: Grant Knottenbelt
Cast: Andile Magxaki, Thokozani Jiyane, Bradley Nowikow, Gregg Pettigrew, Carmen Tromp, Jaydene Marais
Children’s cast: Benjamin Harrison, Kieran Wagner, Ben Wefelmeir, Amber Kaganson, Arhant Karthikeyan, Karla Lotz, Ndzalo Mdaka
Winnie the Pooh is currently on until 30 April 2017 with two shows each day. During school times: 9am and 11am. Public Holidays, weekends and school holidays: 10:30am and 2:30pm. Tickets are R130 per person and bookings can be done through WebTickets or contact People’s Theatre on 011 403 1563 or 011 403 2340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Peoples Theatre
Disclaimer: Thank you Buz PR for allowing me attend this production. All opinions are my own.