Panto Means Plenty of Cute Kids
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Get your tickets now and take the kids or grandkids to the Globus Theatre for Cinderella. It’s a traditional British panto, thanks to writer and director Sarah Quick who is, indeed, British. According to the U.K. definition, a panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation.
The British have loved pantos ever since the actor John Rich introduced it in 1717. Even the though word panto is a shortened version of pantomime, don’t confuse the two forms of theatre. In a pantomime, there is no talking, just a lot of waving of arms, hence it’s a mime. In a panto, there is plenty of talking: both on stage and in the audience.
In traditional style, this version of Cinderella has enough jokes in it that will keep adults interested and laughing, but it is also full of action and fun to keep the kids’ attention.
It’s the Cinderella story we all know. She has a wicked stepmother and two cruel stepsisters who make her do the housework, and tell her she can’t go to the ball where the prince is seeking a bride. Of course, a Fairy Godmother shows up to prep Cinderella for the ball, she attends, and the Prince falls in love. But in her haste to be home on time, she drops her fancy slipper. Spoiler Alert: the Prince finds it, the shoe fits, and the show concludes with a royal wedding.
Six key roles are played by professional actors: Quick is the Wicked Stepmother, Kevin Sepaul and James Barrett are the Ugly Stepsisters named Euthanasia and Asphyxia, Jack Copland is Cinderella’s and the animals’ best friend Buttons, Sasha Luna is Prince Charming, and Rebecca Anne Bloom is Cinderella. Quick has great fun with the stepmother’s role, being delightfully evil and enjoying the audience’s loud boos. Sepaul and Barrett nearly steal the show as the ugliest sisters at the ball. Both possess the comedic timing needed to make kids laugh. Along with their unusual apparel, they complete the look with hideous hair-dos and badly applied make-up. Copland, who will be remembered as the ace reporter in Screwball Comedy last summer at the Globus, brings the same charm to his character Buttons. Prince Charming and Cinderella (Luna and Bloom) make a charming couple, and have the audience rooting for them and their upcoming wedding.
The rest of the big cast is made up of children, seniors, and those in between, all bringing plenty of energy to their performances. Of note is one performer, destined to become a regular on the stage. Cue Barrett, son of Quick and Barrett is a delight as Nibbles, the singing and dancing mouse. The youngsters all enjoy singing along with Buttons (Copland) on guitar as they perform “The Mouse in the Windmill in Old Amsterdam”. The adorable mice on stage need some wooden shoes, or at least tap shoes, to clog along with the song.
The requisite local jokes are included, such as poking fun at Omemee and mocking Lindsay. Then there’s some political humour: ladies of a certain age profess their, uh, romantic interest in Prime Minister Trudeau.
The audience is also part of the performance, providing the appropriate cheers and jeers, and shouting out answers to any questions asked by the characters on stage. With so many kids in the show, the opening night audience was filled with siblings and friends and the applause was loud.
As usual, the pre-show dinner was delicious – turkey and all the trimmings, including a chocolate pudding and candy cane ice cream dessert to die for.
While this isn’t a high-budget presentation (props and sets are, well, less than minimal), it provided many laugh-out-loud moments, and lots of chuckles. It’s a good antidote for what we are hearing in today’s newscasts, and will put you in the spirit of Christmas.
Cinderella continues at the Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn near Bobcaygeon, until December 18. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 705-738-2037 or 1-800-304-7897 or visit https://www.lakeviewartsbarn.com/globus-current-season
Photo: Globus Artistic Director Sarah Quick plays the Wicked Stepmother and Globus General Manager Rebecca Anne Bloom plays Cinderella in the theatre’s Christmas panto. (Photo courtesy of Globus Theatre)
Cinderella – Panto
By Sarah Quick
Directed by Sarah Quick
Performed by Sarah Quick, James Barrett, Kevin Sepaul, Jack Copland, Sasha Luna, Rebecca Anne Bloom, and a large cast of very talented children and adults.
Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn, Bobcaygeon
December 7 to 18, 2022
Reviewed by Mary Alderson