Take a break from the stresses of the holiday season with a traditional fairytale pantomime this month, complete with wood nymphs, a dynamic enchanted forest and of course, cross-dressers.
Echo Players is presenting Cinderella, the classic British pantomime, an over-the-top musical comedy designed for families, not to be confused with the silent mime-type of theatre.
The show begins December 12 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach and runs to the 29.
Co-directing the show is Sue Murguly, who has been directing plays for about 25 years. This show will be a first for her however.
“I’ve done musicals, I’ve serious plays, I’ve done comedies and children’s shows, but I have never done a pantomime.”
Murguly said Echo Players was looking for a director for its Christmas play, and since people in this area are so fond of pantomimes, she thought she could do Cinderella. Meanwhile her co-director Lynne Carrow was on a beach in the Cook Islands when she heard Echo Players was looking for a director. Carrow said if she was going to direct a show it would be Cinderella, and when she got back she discovered that was exactly what Murguly had decided on.
The two had worked together last year when Murguly directed Dancing at Lughnasa, which Carrow choreographed, and they got along well, Carrow said. So they teamed up to co-direct Cinderella and Carrow is also doing the choreography.
Carrow has a fine arts degree in theatre and was involved in the film industry in Vancouver for 33 years. When she joined Echo Players two years ago it meant going back to her theatre roots, she said. And a pantomime dives even further into her past.
“As a kid musical theatre was what I love to do. And pantomimes are musical theatre, Commedia D’el Arte and a little cross-dressing thrown in,” she said.
The story is not based on the Disney movie but instead is the traditional British pantomime by Simon Nye. Murguly said Cinderella is the most popular pantomime ever and she tracked down this script because it’s very cleverly written and has a lot of adult humour, as well as comedy for the kids. The story has all the main elements people will recognize like the ugly stepsisters and the glass slipper, but differs in a lot of ways from the Disney movie, Murguly said.
“We don’t even have a blonde Cinderella,” she said.
Join in the fun, where audience members are encouraged to yell and boo, starting December 12.
Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors, $10 for students and $5 for children 5 and under. Buy tickets at the box office in Qualicum Beach, phone 250-752-3522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a performance calendar visit the website www.echoplayers.ca.
Contest: Win two tickets to tickets to see Cinderella. E-mail email@example.com with “Send me to Cinderella” in the subject line by the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Draw will be done on Dec. 12.