and the Beanstalk' panto a treat for all ages
the past nine years the East End Theatre company has brought traditional British
pantomime to audiences in Orléans starting with "Aladdin " in
2002. Since then, the annual panto production has become a holiday tradition.
Dame Trot says goodbye to the family cow Daisy before Jack Trot brings it to the
market. Fred Sherwin/Photo|
year the East End Theatre company is tackling an old favourite "Jack and
the Beanstalk". Part comedy and part musical, the production is 100 per cent
dates back to Victorian England where it was a popular diversion from the drudgery
of daily life. Often described as the original variety show, true pantomime is
a mix of comedy, song, audience participation, slapstick humour, puns and, of
course, a villain.
and the Beanstalk" measures up on all fronts and even includes a pantomime cow
named Daisy, played by youngsters Sarah Conway and Sophie Melanson-Hayes, which
very nearly steals the show.
success or failure of pantomime depends to a great extent on the audience's willingness
to participate and interact with the characters.
tone was set early on during Friday night's opening performance with the appearance
of the giant's henchman Fleshcreep, played despicable by David McNorgan. As soon
as McNorgan crept onto the stage, completely dressed in black, the boos started
raining down from the Shenkman Arts Centre audience.
boos soon turned to cheers with the appearance of the Vegetable Fairy played by
Lili Miller. Yes, I said "Vegetable Fairy". The winged, vegetable clad
sprite is Jack's "Fairy Godmother" of sorts.
all ages production includes a number of musical numbers starting with Peggy Lee's
"It's a Good Day" sung by the villagers. Other songs include "High
Hopes", "You Are So Beautiful", "Money Makes The World Go
'Round" and "It's A Hard Knock Life" from the musical "Annie".
my favourites were "Anything You Can Do (I can do better)", sung as a duet by
Fleshcreep and the Vegetable Fairy; and a hilarious version of "Shall We Dance"
from the "King And I", sung by King Satupon, played by Gabe Leury, and
Jack's mother Dame Trot, played by Jim Tanner.
Having a male play the female lead and vice versa is a pantomime tradition that
is as old as the genre itself and one that is carried on by Tanner and Sherry
Legge who plays the lead Jack Trot.
is a panto veteran, having played the male lead in a number of East End Theatre
productions in the past including last year's production of "Aladdin"
and the 2004 production of "Cinderella".
has one of the strongest voices in theatre and she delivers another solid performance
Of special note is the performance of 12-year-old Kirsten Mainwood who plays Princess
Melanie. After spending the last five panto productions as a member of the chorus,
Mainwood steps into the spotlight with her solo performance of "Smile".
a doubt the funniest moment in the play is when Dame Trot, King Satupon, Silly
Billy, Clarence Clanger and Sergeant Spic and Corporal Span perform a hilarious
version of "If I Were Not Upon This Stage".
the actors mentioned, "Jack and the Beanstalk" also features the talents of Michael
Kavcic as Jack's brother Silly Billy; Carly Leury and Cheryl Bateman as Sergeant
Spic and Corporal Span; Eric Sauve as the town crier Clarence Clanger; Joshua
Clathey as the ghost and Gilles Bellefeuille as the Giant Blunderbore.
East End Theatre production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a wonderful escape
from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It is wildly entertaining and
fun for the entire family.
by Diane Barnett, "Jack and the Beanstalk" continues at the Shenkman Arts Centre
tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for
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