The Little Mermaid and her fishy friends are back at the Peoples Theatre with even more pizzazz than ever before, from 2nd November – 24th December.
The popular theatre directors Jill Girard and Keith Smith are pros at bringing magical children’s productions to the stage and the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid is no exception. They are thrilled to be bringing it back to the Peoples Theatre situated at the Joburg Theatre complex.
This year’s irresistible version of The Little Mermaid JR, will showcase the talents of an energetic cast against a stunning underwater world. The costumes and sets will open up a wonderland of colours turning the stage into the perfect playground for Ariel and her vivacious under-the-sea friends.
In fact, the cast is no stranger to Girard and Smith’s exciting renditions of classic children’s stories. Most of the actors have performed in other memorable fairytales directed by the talented two for Peoples Theatre.
Jaydene Marais started performing in Girard and Smith’s wonderful productions at the tender age of 8 when she debuted as Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh. Her first professional role was as Drizella in Disney’s Cinderella. She has played in numerous parts for Peoples Theatre since then. “Story book theatre is my favourite form of entertainment. It’s interesting and fun and stretches your skills to new limits, which I am looking forward to most in Little Mermaid JR,” says Marais.
Aidan Hyland says his inspiration is Daniel Day-Lewis whose birthday he shares. Before being cast in The Little Mermaid JR, he starred in the Peoples Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty. “Now I hope to surprise the audience with my performance in Little Mermaid JR,” he says.
Noni Mikhonto’s first production at Peoples Theatre was as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Since then she has performed in at least eight of Girard and Smith’s magical story book productions including a previous rendition of The Little Mermaid. “It’s my best story ever. I love playing Ariel’s crab friend Sebastian because he’s just so full of life and comedy,” she says.
This will be Shelly Simon’s first time starring in a Peoples Theatre production even though she is an accomplished performer. Simon has played in popular plays like Sister Act and will take on the role of the villain Ursula in The Little Mermaid JR. “When I started exploring musical theatre I always liked the idea of playing the villain. I find them interesting and the reason why a story takes form. Ursula has always been the one villain I have wanted to play,” says Simon.
Sarah Malherbe has performed in some big musicals like The Sound of Music to name one. For Peoples Theatre she has been cast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Story Book Theatre. “I am extremely excited to be taking on the starring role of Ariel in this year’s production of The Little Mermaid,” she says.
Musical theatre is an absolute passion for Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri which is why he has enjoyed being cast in various Peoples Theatre productions including Donkey in Shrek Jr and an array of characters in Story Book Theatre. “I am looking forward to bringing life to my characters under the sea,” he says.
This is Andile Magxaki’s third production with Peoples Theatre. He recently enjoyed a successful run of both Shrek Jr and Storybook Theatre. He has also performed the leads in a variety of popular musicals such as Oklahoma, Evita, and Guys & Dolls to name but a few. “I am looking forward to the challenge of playing both King Triton and a cameo as Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid,” says Magxaki.
Musical direction for this production will be by Rowan Bakker who has recently received critical acclaim for his musical direction on SISTER ACT and SWEENEY TODD ! Sandy Richardson having just completed Fashion Week has 35 years of credits to her name, will be applying her choreographic skill to all the musical numbers ! Linda Wilson will be bringing the magical “under the sea” costumes to life, ensuring a visual extravaganza and a kaleidoscope of colour!
Children and adults alike will not be able to resist the magic charm that is The Little Mermaid JR. It’s an age-old tale but with contemporary life lessons about friendship and acceptance. The fact that Girard and Smith’s rendition is interactive and fun just makes it all the more memorable. A perfect feel-good, summertime hit!
Tickets cost R120 per person. Kids Club members are R80 per member and R100 per accompanying member. To book call Andrew or Lorraine on 011 403 1563/2340 and for more information visit www.peoplestheatre.co.za OR ONLINE at joburgtheatre.com.