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Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.

The National Children’s Theatre production of Mr Hare Meets Mr Mandela is full of charm and character.

The play is based on the book by Chris van Wyk.  It follows an intrepid rabbit, called … Mr Rabbit, as he journeys from his little hole in the countryside into the big city on an adventure to return a R200 note to its obvious owner … Mr Mandela (after all, it does have his picture on it). Along the way he meets various characters both fair and foul who all manage to whittle the note down from R200 to an eventual R10. Each time Mr Rabbit is forced to exchange Mr Mandela’s note for a smaller denomination, he learns a little lesson about people, the city and life.

Perfect for 3-6yr olds

This is truly a children’s show, the lessons and the script are simple, and the tone is pitched at the very much younger members of the audience. This isn’t a failing in any way, the story is unapologetically basic and the message is confidently moralistic.  After all, the original book itself is aimed at a very young audience (3-6).

Mr Hare meets Mr Mandela - kids theatre

Professional acting

The show is anchored by two brilliant professional actors, Sandi Dlangalala and Alyssa Harrison. They breathe verve and warmth into their characters, and bring the story to life with skill and panache. They are supported by an able team of learner actors who give the show some cheek and charm. Keep an eye on Erin Atkins, Tiago Do O’Filipe, Simone Greehy and Zaynub Cajee because before long they’ll be the ones leading the show.

At the helm of the production is the inimitable Daniel Geddes who, it seems, can literally do anything. He acts, he sings, he puppets, he musical directs, he directs, and you should see his embroidery! (Just kidding about the embroidery, but I wouldn’t be surprised). I would love to see him direct something a bit meatier, but he certainly brings this little story to life with engaging choreography and clever use of props and costumes.

While the design elements of the production don’t take one’s breath away, they serve the story and bring an old world style and charm to the small theatre’s stage.

Take your little ones

My 8 year old loved this show and the little-ies were spellbound throughout. So don’t delay, take your little ones to see Mr Hare Meets at the National Children’s Theatre. The show runs until July 21.  Click here for details

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