Emily Blake

Emily Blake

Magic and mayhem

Nanaimo Theatre Group turns fairy tale topsy-turvy during traditional annual pantomime

After wading through this quagmire of characters, a wicked stepmother might not seem so bad to the heroic prince.

“We’ve added a dragon,” said Mort Paul, director of Snow White, the Nanaimo Theatre Group’s annual pantomime.

The dragon – named Denman Hornby – is just one of the characters added to the traditional fairy tale. In this one, written by a theatre company in Courtenay, Snow White’s father sticks around to be cursed by his evil wife.

“He wanders his way through the play,” Paul said.

There’s also Snow White’s nanny, who falls in love with Baron von Hasselhoff, the prince’s sidekick – also a new character. And, in the tradition of pantomime, the nanny is played by a man.

And she’s got two grandchildren, who are at times cowboys, ninjas, or other characters they idolize.

It all adds up to the chaos inherent in a pantomime, a type of theatre which aims to parody or satirize aspects of society through fairy tales and children’s stories. Nanaimo Theatre Group presents a panto every Christmas, going back decades.

The show carries a theme of magic throughout, from the fairy-tale aspects to the on stage special effects, which sees the evil queen’s magic mirror created before the eyes of the audience. The queen herself transformed from the second-fairest in the land to a peasant lady, to try and kill her beautiful stepdaughter with a poisoned apple.

The 25-member cast is made up not only of family connections, but also children and teens. The cast also helps the 12-member crew with staging.

“We pull them in all different directions,” Paul said. “It’s a lot of co-ordination.”

Tickets remain for the annual panto, although all matinees as well as the special New Year’s Eve showing, are sold out. The show runs Dec. 18-19 and 26-30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15.

Please call 250-758-7224 or visit www.nanaimotheatregroup.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com