Some people think a pantomime is a silent production – nothing could be farther from the truth as theatregoers will find out at next week’s Sleeping Beauty Christmas pantomine put on by SPECC-tacular Productions.
A traditional English Christmas pantomime, which goes back several centuries, includes a “clown-like” atmosphere with music, dancing, comedy, and humour, said producer Christine Olorenshaw.
“It’s got a mixture of fun things for the kids... and for the adults,” she said.
A pantomime always includes a king, a queen, a prince, and a jester, and it is always a battle between good and evil.
“In the end, good always wins,” Olorenshaw said.
The queen – the Dame – is always a man dressed in drag and the prince is always a very good-looking woman with shapely legs also dressed in drag.
Audience participation is encouraged in pantomimes, Olorenshaw said, and there is always a lot of audience interaction – kids are encouraged to cheer the good characters and boo the evil ones.
While the production follows the traditional Sleeping Beauty storyline, it has been adapted by Ed Marshall.
There is also a lot of ad libbing going on during the show, making each night unique.
“It’s a different show every time you see it,” Olorenshaw said. “It’s exciting, it’s toe-tapping... everyone can join in and sing along.”
The show is directed by Marshall, with dance choreography by Susan Mitchell of the Maple Ridge Dance Circle. The dancers are also from the dance school.
Su Wolfe, as musical director, has chosen some modern upbeat musical numbers to set the pace of this classic fairy-tale adventure. The pantomime is enhanced with lavish sets and props by Susan Crape, and costumes by Julie Milroy. Actors are largely from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, with a few new faces like Princess Beauty played by Kaleigh Polderman.
Sleeping Beauty is at The ACT from Tuesday, Dec. 11 to Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 15, there’s a matinee at 1 p.m. and a show at 6 p.m.
Tickets are available at The ACT in person or by calling 604-476-2787, or online at www.theactmapleridge.org.