By Stephen Aspeling24 January 2024
Where to watch Simoné Pretorius on Showmax
Simoné Pretorius is a South African actress who is best known for her starring role as Irma Humpel in Vir die Voëls as well as her SAFTA-nominated role as Jony Scholtz in the sitcom Hotel. Her face is instantly recognisable and while best known for her comedic roles, Pretorius is versatile and equally adapt when it comes to drama, having starred in Wonderlus and Stroomop. While her roles as a plucky nurse and hotel front desk manager stand out, Pretorius has amassed a solid collection of work, able to transition seamlessly between film and television. Here are six unmissable performances from Pretorius, now streaming on Showmax.
Die Onderonsie (The Quarrel)
In the tradition of Weekend at Bernie’s comes Die Onderonsie, a whodunnit that follows an annual reunion of five bandmates whose plans are disrupted by the discovery of a body. Dark comedy capers have a knack for ramping up ordinary situations, whether it’s about doing everything in your power to avoid a funeral degenerating into a freak show or trying to convince your friends to keep a long-held secret buried. Die Onderonsie ensures things stay colourful and upbeat as the former bandmates reopen old wounds in their attempt to avoid a scandal and weed out the would-be killer.
Simoné Pretorius takes on the peppy role of Jolene, a pop star sensation whose “Patricia Lewis” status seems timely with the resurgence of Barbie. Taking inspiration from famous acquaintances, Pretorius is dolled up to look the part, leaning into the hair, wardrobe and make up. Famous in her own right, it’s easy to see how the actress could channel some of her own experiences of fame into this entertaining and comedic performance with many great one-liners.
Vir die Voëls (For the Birds)
Vir die Voëls is a comedy drama romance centred on the untameable Irma Humpel, a young nurse whose independent streak ruffles feathers in her small town. Set during the 1970s, this period drama takes place during the Bush War as Irma and the town’s golden boy, Sampie, grow up and find their place in conservative Afrikaans society. Fiercely independent and not willing to “settle down” for the sake of being a good girl, this spirited character portrait serves as a provocative social commentary as well as an entertaining trip down memory lane.
Perfectly cast as Irma Humpel, Simoné Pretorius brims with confidence from the get-go, establishing the character by breaking the fourth wall in a funny introduction. Based on a true story, Pretorius captures the essence of Irma with a well-balanced performance that effectively and effortlessly captures the film’s quirk and tone. A charming and career-defining lead performance from Pretorius opposite the cheeky yet likable Francois Jacobs, her resonant turn should’ve received more attention and awards.
In the style of The Big Chill and even The Hangover, comes Wonderlus, a romance comedy drama with a sprawling next-generation cast of local acting talent. While Johan Cronje’s film takes inspiration from conceptual elements from these well-known American movies, it’s much more artful and svelte, adopting a timeless quality when it comes to wardrobe, soundtrack and styling. Led by Edwin van der Walt and Lea Vivier, the story takes place at a countryside wedding venue after one wild night finds a groom pursuing the love of his life while his bride tries to disentangle from her past.
Simoné Pretorius takes on a supporting role as the stoic Lindie opposite Stiaan Smith as her ungrateful boyfriend, Ruan. Part of a broad ensemble of up-and-coming stars, Pretorius adds presence and texture as the fed-up Lindie, putting on a brave face to form part of the wedding party. A mature coming-of-age romance drama with a wistful edge, the cast chemistry is palpable with every actor aiming to be fully present in every moment. Stealing the show, van der Walt and Vivier’s windswept romance elevates the stakes as the worst night of Pieter’s life threatens to become the best mistake he ever made.
White water rafting serves as a metaphor for adversity as five women navigate rapids in this adventure drama. Unfolding through flashbacks, their personal struggles surface as the team-building expedition takes an unexpected turn. Directed by Ivan Botha, it’s Vir Altyd co-lead DonnaLee Roberts who takes the helm of this female-led coming-of-age journey into the Orange River wilderness. An understated and generous performance, the earnest undertone is carried through by her solid supporting cast in Simoné Pretorius, Chanelle de Jager, Armand Aucamp, Carla Classen and Ilse Klink.
A real team effort, Stroomop’s heart is in the right place as it aims to entertain and inspire. Dealing with insecurities and trauma, this ragtag crew from a therapy group discover just how much they need each other’s support. Pretorius plays Vivian, a perfectionist who’s struggling to work through her own heartbreak and fear. At first masking her troubles and keeping up the appearance of a well-adjusted person, Vivian finds the conviction to break through the strongholds in her life.
The Office’s documentary style sitcom blurred the edge between fiction and reality as a paper merchant in Slough became a circus for office oddballs. The same winning formula has been applied to Hotel, centred on a struggling mid-tier hotel in Mpumalanga where employees duck, dive and butt heads under the watchful eye of their manager turned father figure, Ferdie. Starring James Borthwick, Simoné Pretorius, Schalk Bezuidenhout, Mila Guy and Beer Adriaanse, this fun-loving sitcom finds an unconventional and rather wacky family doing life at the slow-moving Die Fransen hotel.
Pretorius takes on the level-headed role of Jony, who serves as a Michael Bluth to this ship of fools. Not afraid to get in on the laughs, it’s Jony who becomes the voice of reason as team-building exercises, staff parties and office politics threaten to implode. A fun-loving yet heartfelt comedy, it’s far less prickly than The Office as the team band together in a bid to save the hotel from closing down or worse… staying open. Operating with restraint in a SAFTA-nominated performance, Pretorius manages to ground the drama and foster a sense of docu-reality to this cute, weird and funny series.
Vuil Wasgoed (Dirty Laundry)
Vuil Wasgoed stars Bennie Fourie and Bouwer Bosch in a buddy comedy crime caper about Kevin and Wim, two bored laundromat guys whose after-hours shenanigans land them in trouble with ruthless career criminals. Used to partying in their customer’s clothes by night, things take a nasty turn when one of them discovers a severed finger in a jacket pocket. Pursued by the finger’s owner and his burly henchmen, the lifelong friends are forced into a compromising situation that could find them laundered.
A colourful, light-hearted and altogether silly caper with a nostalgic appetite, Vuil Wasgoed features a stellar local cast with Tim Theron, Stiaan Smith, Nico Panagio, Leandie du Randt, Charlie Bouguenon and Simoné Pretorius. While taking on a small supporting role as Kevin’s heartthrob, Niki, Pretorius brings her charm and star power to the bright-eyed innocent – adding more clout and fun to this quirky romp.
Read Simoné Pretorius interview, talking about her role in Die Onderonsie.
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