(Posted 6:30 a.m., Dec. 20)
panto a holiday treat for the entire family
By Fred Sherwin
arrives on the scene to collect his debt from
Grettle, the poor goose girl. Fred Sherwin/Photo
a weekend when it seems like the whole world is talking
about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, its nice
to know that there is still a place in the entertainment
world for amateur theatre and an appreciation for traditional
theatrical group that continues to keep that tradition
alive is the East End Theatre company which recently wrapped
up their production of Rumplstiltskin at the Shenkman
beats traditional English panto for sheer entertainment,
and nobody does it better than the East End Theatre company
which has been staging traditional holiday pantos for
the better part of 15 years.
is one of 23 traditional pantomimies written by Norman
Robbins and adapted for the local stage by with a slew
of topical references.
all traditional pantomimes, the East End Theatre production
incorporated song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, cross-dressing,
in-jokes and audience participation.
to the genre, Rumplestiltskin has a villain, in fact,
two; a dame, which is a male actor dressed in drag; a
hero, which is traditionally a female actor cast in the
male lead; and a heroine.
youve forgotten the story its about a young
girl who is unwittingly forced to spin straw into gold
after her father brags to the king to make himself sound
superior. Locked inside a tower with a spinning wheel,
the girl is forced into making a deal with an evil gnome
named Rumplestiltzkin who agrees to produce the gold in
exchange for her first born child.
the East End Theatre version, the girl takes part in a
word play game where a four letter word is transformed
into another four letter word one letter at a time. In
this way, she turns the word flax into gold.
she tells her mother about her newly-discovered ability,
her mother boasts about it to the King who has driven
the kingdom into bankruptcy and is looking to marry his
son to a rich widow. The girl seems the perfect solution
to all of the Kings problems, but there is someone
else who is looking to get rich quick, the dastardly Baron
Grettle is locked in a tower with a spinning well and
a pile of flax, she is visited by Rumplestiltskin who
makes a deal for her first born. When the gnome returns
to the kingdom at the end of a three year deadline, he
gives Grettle, who is now married to the new king, an
out if she can find out his name, he will let her
keep her son.
Rumplestiltskin lets the audience in on his secret, hes
overheard by Sammy Slow-Poke, the village fool, who passes
the information on to Grettle and saves the day.
two-hour production was chock full of one-liners and over
the top performances that had the audience laughing out
Peter Frayne was especially hilarious as Mother Hubbard.
East End Theatre veteran was cast in the role of the dame
after playing a series of villains. That role was taken
on by David McNorgan, another East End Theatre veteran
who was cast as Baron Bloodshot.
was in his element as the character who not only draws
the ire of the audience, but invites it.
loudest boos were reserved for Rumplestiltskin. who was
played by Kim Reynolds. How can you not hate a maniacal
green gnome who tricks the heroine into letting him steal
her son. Reynolds was brilliantly diabolical in the role.
surprise performance of the night was turned in by Angel
Morden as Grettle, the poor goose girl who becomes Queen.
According to the program, it was Mordens first performance
in front of a large audience. She was absolutely wonderful,
holding her own and commanding the stage throughout the
performances that stood out included Lili Miller as Prince
Roland, and Jim Tanner in the dual role of King Marmaduke
and Major Domo.
other cast members included Kevin Rockel as Slow-Poke;
Nick St-François as The Barons guard Smash;
Sarah Kennedy as the Princes squire, Alan; and Jessica
Rockel as Alans sweetheart Rosamund.
almost forgot to mention the villagers and minions played
by Kyle Magee, Leah Attree, Amielle V., Cole Acker, Serena
Reynolds and Dylan and Rian Adamson and the great job
down by the director Jeanette Smith and her assistant
and East End Theatre founder Diane Barnett..
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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