Arts and Culture, Featured

Who staged it better? When film and theatre don’t always translate

Jun 24, 2019, Author: Carly Ritz

Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury in the 2018 biographical flick left die-hard Queen fans in tears and awakened a new love for the rock singer’s music amongst generations born long after The Live Aid concert of 1985. Now, the Bohemian Rhapsody sing-along experience is coming to Mzansi for four shows only at the Teatro and given the hype, tickets are bound to sell out fast. We’re doing a little reflection for those generations who are yet to experience some of the big show hits that have translated beautifully on stage and those that have, well, fallen flat. 



Oh fam, there just ain’t no way to top Honey Bee and Jenny H (#soz). Let’s be honest: this rags-to-riches story about an up-and-coming 60s girl group that debuted on Broadway in 1981 was eclipsed the moment the 2006 movie version hit the screens. The reality is that no matter how great your cast or ensemble is, once the likes of Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson put their stamp on something, it’s pretty hard for anyone else to replicate a version worth talking about. When Dreamgirls came to Jozi stages, it was well supported and there were some rave reviews – but in our opinion, there’s just no topping the movie and its soundtrack. 


The Lion King 

Now, here’s a show that came alive on stage for local audiences in an unprecedented way 20 years ago (and still today). Walt Disney’s 1994 animated movie version elicited warm and fuzzy feelings for baby lion cubs and talking warthogs, but only when South African producer and composter Lebo M arranged and performed the stage production did the hair on the back of theatre-goers’ necks stand up. Capturing the spirit of Africa with soaring vocals and incredible stage production, the live musical of The Lion King gets props for one of the better (if not best) adaptations of the original. PS: How many Gen Z’s even watch old Disney movies anymore? We mean – was there really anything before Frozen? 


The Color Purple 

We’ll admit that this is a tough one. Both the movie and the stage adaptations have moved audiences in unexpected ways. With Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey at the helm of the film released in 1985, it’s a seriously hard act to follow. The power of the original cast’s performances won plenty of awards and the hearts of the critics, but what award-winning director Janice Honeyman got so right about the South African installment of the musical was the ability to tell the story beyond the big personalities. The unforgettable story of a woman who, through the love of other strong women, is able to triumph over hardship. PS: rumour has it that there’s another round of shows in 2020. 

For those planning to give their own review on Bohemian Rhapsody… 


Teatro at Montecasino, 1 Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways 


Friday, 28 June 2019, at 20h00 

Saturday, 29 June 2019, at 15h00 and 20h00 

Sunday, 30 June 2019, at 15h00 


Book your ticket online at for R150 plus a R5 booking fee. 

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