When the evil queen looks into her self-assuring mirror on stage at McPherson Playhouse later this month, you know it’s going to be a wry response.
What else could you expect, when radio funny guy Ed Bain is in your mirror?
Bain is one of the many Saanich residents who will take the stage for Kaleidoscope’s holiday pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dec. 27 to 29 at the McPherson Playhouse.
He’s also one of many members of local broadcast media who are part of the program, directed by former television reporter Steven Andrew
“I actually grew up in theatre, I’ve been doing it from a very young age. A lot of television media start as actors or are actors,” said Andrew, whose first introduction to theatre was at infant school. “We did Pinocchio and it captured my imagination.”
Perhaps fittingly, it’s a 1970 production of Aladdin at the London Palladium that stands out to this day for Andrew. Pantomimes, or pantos, are an English holiday tradition and are a Saanich one as well (St. Luke’s Players ran Aladdin this year). The genre, which injects slapstick and topical comedy into a fairy tale, is making its return to Victoria’s big stage.
“It’s a chance for the entire family to go to the theatre as it’s not a sit-in-your-seat quiet experience,” he said. “The characters actively engage the kids in the audience, there are a lot of local jokes and references to places and incidents in Victoria, double entendres incidents in Greater Victoria.
Snow White features CTV’s Astrid Braunschmidt, also from Saanich, and fellow Saanichites Daniel Gallant and Lisa Pysmenny, as well as up-and-coming Claremont secondary actor Steven Hao.
Local actor Cati Landry, of Langham Court theatre, will wear the red lipstick and black hair of Snow White.
“We didn’t find Snow White in the first two audition sessions, but Landry came in and blew it away,” Andrew said.
The writer and director wouldn’t divulge who will play the seven dwarfs, but did disclose that among the rule-bending additions are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, borrowed from Alice in Wonderland. He’s also inserted panto-character Nurse Tickle into the show.
Andrew started writing the show a few months ago, but it wasn’t until Tristan Chang, another Saanich-based actor, was reading aloud his jokes as one of the dwarfs and started laughing, that he knew he was on to something.
“It was so nice to see that the jokes were hitting home and that the actors were enjoying it, that’s when I knew it was working.”
Tickets can be purchased online at www.rmts.bc.ca or in person at the McPherson Playhouse. Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for students and children.