BENNY BUSHWHACKER: Human Nature
Starrring BEN VOSS
Written by John van de Ruit (SPUD)
Directed by Janice Honeyman
The Studio Theatre @ Montecasino
3 – 20 October 2019
Benny Bushwhacker, aka Ben Voss, continues his successful national tour of his brand-new, one-man-show and will soon be heading to Gauteng to delight Joburg and Pretoria audiences.
Benny Bushwhacker: Human Nature will be on stage at The Studio Theatre at Montecasino from Thursday, 3rd – Sunday, 20th October for a strictly limited season.
Joburg audiences loved Ben’s previous shows, including Green Mamba, Black Mamba, Mamba Republic, Bend it Like Beauty and Beauty and the BEE to name but a few. Now they get to see the chance to see this award winning actor, comedian, writer and producer back on stage in his brand new show!
Benny Bushwhacker : Human Nature kick-started a fabulous tour when it won two Standard Bank Ovation Awards at the National Arts Festival Makhanda in Grahamstown – the very first staging of the show.
The Republic of South Africa proudly welcomes home Benny Bushwhacker (aka Ben Voss), the world’s funniest conservationist. The legend returns to share what it takes to survive the African bush … and for the African bush to survive.
The genial South African, who recently trended worldwide for banging heads with swashbuckling British survivalist Bear Grylls, is touring South Africa’s theatres and festivals with an hilarious yet sobering look at the collision between man and environment.
For somebody who has spent more time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life than a hibernating Arctic wood frog, Benny Bushwhacker brings untainted humanity and delicious humour to his performance that will have you laughing out loud and wondering why, when it comes to the bush, the most uncommon human trait is common sense.
Whether it be his opinion on how to spot a know-it-all in Kruger, or the relative chances of his estranged wife, Brenda, replacing the buffalo in the Big 5, Benny delivers time and again with his unique sense of humour and classic bush logic.
Benny Bushwhacker’s stories and experiences have been translated from bush to page by his unofficial biographer, John van de Ruit, (of Spud fame) and directed from page to stage by the lioness of theatre, Janice Honeyman.
I have worked with Ben before and have always enjoyed it. He’s a good actor, and a thinking actor. His Mamba series impressed me, so I chose to direct his alter ego, Beauty Ramapelepele. Ben then worked with me last year on the Snow White Pantomime as Evil Queen Hildagonda, in which he was fantastic. The opportunity to work with him again as Benny Bushwhacker is great fun. The concerns of the content are very close to my heart and putting it into a less didactic, preachy context feels good for me.
Janice Honeyman | Director
Writer of the piece, John van de Ruit, expressed his involvement by saying, “Ben and I have been friends and collaborators for over twenty years. In that time, I have had the best seat in the house to witness his talent and versatility as a comedic actor. He has the unique ability to capture reality and extremity, often simultaneously, with hilarious consequences. It does help that he was born with a rubber face, a razor-sharp mind and the body of Frankenstein. This made him the perfect fit for Benny Bushwhacker, a celebrity conservationist with a big heart and little education to speak of.”Historically, Ben Voss and I have collaborated on both scripting and performance, but this time we have made a deliberate decision to separate ourselves into writer and actor. This means I won’t steal Benny’s favourite lines on stage, and he won’t tamper with my favourite lines in the script. I think that’s called collaborative uncoupling. It’s been a terrific time developing the idea of Benny Bushwhacker with Ben Voss, although of late it’s been rather difficult to tell the pair apart.”
While touring South Africa, Benny Bushwhacker is raising awareness and Moola for the Lebombo Leopard – Human Conflict Survey. And while leopards are not known to change their spots, through this initiative, Benny will try to help humans to do so.
I am closely involved with the Lebombo Leopard Human Conflict Survey in Mkuze, Northern Zululand. A big part of this project is to raise money to set cameras to monitor leopard movement in the area after two children were taken by these cats on the reserve boundary. My interest is not so much conserving pristine bush, as conserving the line between humans and nature. These boundaries are critical. As a roving species, Leopard are under constant threat from humans, and communities are under threat from Leopard. So this conflict seemed like a “natural” fit for my show. I care about nature, I care about humans and if the leopard is to survive we are going to have to create more green spaces, and keep communities healthy and happy. The theme of the show is even based around saving the leopard and there are donation boxes for the project at every show. Every single cent in those boxes goes towards the initiative. At the moment we are raising on average R1000 a show and I have nearly 100 shows this year. So R100 000 is my target!
Ben Voss | Actor
Book your seats soon for this wonderful look at life on the wild side, because, like the rhinos of Africa, you never know if you will get the chance to see it again.
Benny Bushwhacker: Human Nature is on stage at The Studio Theatre @ Montecasino from Thursday 3rd – Sunday 20th October.
Performances are Wednesdays – Fridays at 20h00, Saturdays at 16h00 & 20h00 and Sundays at 15h00.
Ticket prices are R130 – R180 and bookings are through Computicket.
The duration of the show is 65 minutes with no interval.
There’s no Age Restriction (although there’s “No Under 3’s” for the comfort of other patrons)
Check out www.benvoss.co.za for general information or to click through on booking links to the various venues around the country.
Here are just a few audience reviews from the recent Durban season:
“The show was well worthy of the standing ovation from last night’s audience, so make sure you don’t miss it!” – Barry Meehan, ArtSmart –
“Benny Bushwhacker’ breathes vivid life into some hilarious characters.” – Steven Stead –
“What an incredible talent! Witty, enlightening, hilarious, thought-provoking. I loved every minute. Go and see this show!” – Erika Petersen-Holmes –
Well done Ben! I enjoyed the satire. It’s a huge effort on your part. Important cause.”
– Ryan Andrew Ramdass –
“A definite must if you want a belly ache of a laugh and you care about the planet!” – Bridget Ringdahl
“Book for this magnificent show, Benny Bushwhacker and you will be screaming with laughter from beginning to the end!! – Anisah Hansa –
For those Pretoria residents not able to make the excursion to Jozi, there will also be a one-night-only opportunity for Pretoria audiences to see the show at Atterbury Theatre on Wednesday 13th November at 20h00.
National Tour Dates of Benny Bushwhacker still coming up:
Hilton Arts Festival, 13 – 15 September
The George Arts Theatre, 20 Sep – 21 September
The Studio Stage at Montecasino, Johannesburg, 3 – 20 October
The Savoy Theatre, Port Elizabeth, 22 – 26 October
Hexagon Theatre, Pietermaritzburg, 4 – 9 November
Atterbury Theatre, Pretoria, 13 November
Somerset West Playhouse, 15 – 16 November
Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, 10 December – 18 January 2020
Ben Voss is an actor, comedian, writer and producer. He was schooled at South Africa’s first non-racial school and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as a B-Com Honours in Human Resources.
He has written, produced and starred in the hit shows Green Mamba (2006), Black Mamba (2008) and Mamba Republic (2017). These shows toured in over 10 counties and scooped all South Africa’s major Theatre Awards.
However, Ben is perhaps best known for his alter-ego Beauty Ramapelele who has been a regular voice on Jacaranda 94.2M, East Coast Radio as well as the Roger Goode Show on 5FM.
His two-stage productions, Bend It Like Beauty and Beauty and the BEE both toured the country and had acclaimed runs at London’s Oval House Theatre.
Ben’s most recent movie credits include Mr. Lilly in the Spud series. He played the lead in Robert Fraser’s Game and the supporting lead in Craig Freimond’s Beyond The River – both released in 2017.
He also produced the theatrical spectacular Wickedly Odd – The Night Garden in conjunction with the Durban Botanic Gardens and played Evil Queen Hildagonda in Janice Honeyman’s Snow White Pantomime.
In 2019 he releases his new alter-ego Benny Bushwhacker.
JOHN VAN DE RUIT
John van de Ruit is an actor, playwright and author who was been educated at Michaelhouse and received a Master’s degree in Drama and Performance studies from The University of KwaZulu – Natal. His highly successful stage shows of Green Mamba, Black Mamba and Mamba Republic (in collaboration with Ben Voss) performed to sell-out audiences around South Africa as well as receiving numerous awards.
His debut novel, Spud, has been a publishing phenomenon in South Africa, smashing all local publishing records and was awarded the Bookseller’s choice award in 2006. Following Spud’s release in September 2005, Spud – the Madness Continues (April 2007) has been hot on its heals, also receiving rave reviews and both books have since been published in The USA and UK as well as being translated into Italian (Patata) Russian (Manek) and Portuguese (Cotoco).
The penultimate book in the side-splitting series, Spud – Learning to Fly was released in June 2009. This novel received the Bookseller’s choice award 2010. The last book in the series, Spud – Exit Pursued by a Bear was released in South Africa in August 2012. Spud has crept into the hearts of readers across the world and was recently placed 11th on Exclusive Book’s 101 books to read before you die.
A feature film of John’s first novel, Spud, was released in Southern Africa in December 2010 starring John Cleese as the eccentric Guv and Troye Sivan in the title role. The movie debuted at number one at the South African box office and is now being distributed internationally. Also available in December 2010 was The Making of Spud the Movie and How a Wickedly Splendid Plan Came Together written in conjunction with the film’s producer, Ross Garland. A film based on Spud – The Madness Continues was on screens nationwide in June 2013. The film of Spud – Learning to Fly released in November 2014.
John has been working on his new novel which is due to hit the shelves in 2020. He is also in collaboration with Voss on their new comedy, Benny Bushwhacker – Human Nature, which will tour South Africa.
Janice Honeyman’s work has ranged from classics to comedies, social issue plays, bawdy romps and highly-acclaimed dramas to the best of contemporary Broadway and the West End hits.
No stranger to Joburg Theatre, having been its Artistic Director during the ‘90s, Janice still breaks records every year at the theatre with her popular annual pantomimes. Her numerous awards include the Five Roses Young Artists Award, the Breytenbach Epathlon, several Naledi, Vita and Fleur du Cap Awards and the Johnnie Walker Achiever Award. Her direction of the musical The Color Purple at Joburg Theatre in 2018 won Janice Best Director of a Musical at both the Naledi Awards and the South African Theatre Magazine Awards.
Janice has directed many musicals and operas, including Hair, La Cage Aux Folles, Candide, Starlight Express, The Boys in the Photograph, Sister Act, Cosi Fan Tutte, Die Fledermaus, La Belle Helene and Carmen Jones. Dramas include Shadowlands, Torch Song Trilogy, Driving Miss Daisy, Twilight of the Golds, Rose, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Florian Zeller’s The Mother, her own stage adaptation of A H M Scholtz’s novel Vatmaar, her adaptation of Chris van Wyk’s Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, John Kani’s play Nothing But The Truth at Grahamstown Festival, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, the Lincoln Centre in New York, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Power House Theatre in Brisbane, the Sydney Opera House, London’s Hampstead Theatre and on a national tour of the UK. Janice directed John Kani’s play Missing at the Baxter Theatre, The Market Theatre and in Bogota, Colombia.
She has facilitated outreach Theatre-in-Education workshops in Soweto and numerous touring TIE projects, both in South Africa and at Inter-Action in London. In 2005 and 2006, her direction of Showboat sold out in Nuremberg and in Oslo, and travelled to Malmo in Sweden, Paris and the UK. Janice has directed highly acclaimed productions of Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye (The Royal Shakespeare Company Almeida season), Exits and Entrances, Booitjie and the Oubaas (Baxter Theatre), Die Kaptein se Tier and The Blue Iris (Fugard Theatre in Cape Town). Other directing highlights include Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass with Sir Antony Sher. Janice attended The National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, the Edinburgh Festival and the Bermuda Festival with Thembi Mtshali in Sindiwe Magona’s Mother to Mother. Her critically acclaimed Baxter/RSC production of The Tempest with Sir Anthony Sher and John Kani performed in Cape Town, Stratford-upon-Avon and on a sold-out UK tour.
More recently Janice directed Cape Town Opera’s contemporary African themed The Merry Widow, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Plautus/Phil Porter Roman comedy Vice Versa in Stratford-upon-Avon, and her thirty-second annual festive season pantomime production at Joburg Theatre. Janice is currently enjoying acclaim for her direction of the musical The Color Purple in its South African premier production in 2018 and The Royal Shakespeare Company / Fugard Theatre’s production of John Kani’s latest play Kunene and The King, reuniting her once again with Kani and Sir Antony Sher.
Win 1 of 5 Double Tickets to See #BennyBushwhacker worth R320!
If you love a good laugh as much as I do, I think you will love #BennyBushwhacker. Come join me!
To win, simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #BennyBushwhacker #MonteJoziStyle!
Entries close on Sunday, 29 September 2019 at 8PM.
The winner will be selected by an online random generator.
Winners will be announced by Monday, 30 September 2019 9PM.
The prize is not transferable for cash.
Tickets are for Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 20h00.
The winners will be announced on JoziStyle.joburg and informed by email.
Ticket Prices are R140 – R160. Bookings are via iTickets by calling 086 1000 291 or online at www.itickets.co.za.