December is typically a month when Langley resident Ellie King is in a mad scramble to stage her latest panto for audiences in Surrey and elsewhere.
But not this year.
With the pandemic putting an end to such in-person gatherings, the managing artistic director of Royal Canadian Theatre Company is among many who have shifted to an online platform for performances.
“RCTC has had to cancel just about all of our 2020/2021 season, although we are hoping to bring you our spring show in 2021,” King told fans of the theatre company. “We miss all our panto peeps, especially our Youth Mentorship participants, and sadly we aren’t able to present our annual Relaxed Performance for those with intellectual and other challenges.
In King’s case, she’s unearthed a 2016 production of the panto “Beauty and the Beast” for by-donation viewing on the company’s website last month, which is now being followed by the streaming of “Sleeping Beauty.”
“If you’re missing your annual panto visit, here is one of RCTC’s past extravaganzas bringing New Year’s fun for the whole family,” King explained. “This toe-tapping, hilariously funny, sparkling, magical, musical adventure will have you joining in no matter what age you are.”
A Langley resident, King recently celebrated 30 years of writing and directing panto shows in the Vancouver area, and has continued the tradition with Royal Canadian Theatre Company since it was established in 2006.
For those not in the know, a pantomime (or panto) is a type of musical comedy that puts a twist on an original fairytale or other story, and is usually performed around Christmastime. Goofy jokes and visual gags are part of the family-friendly fun.
Watch as Fairy Snowdrop (Erin Marshall) and Demon Hemlock (Stephen Elcheshen) square off over Princess Rosebud’s fate (Melissa Funnell) and even hero Prince Indigo (Andie Morgan) needs some help against the evil Fairy Nightshade (Kerri Norris).
“These characters and many more combine with spectacular costumes, sets and special effects which along with wonderful music – including four original songs,” King added.
Tickets by donation – and every penny donated will help RCTC to bring Alice in Wonderland to audiences next year.
Sleeping Beauty runs online now until Jan. 16 at https://rctheatreco.wistia.com/medias/6jqgyy1yei
“Make sure not to miss this treat which is where community mentorship participants get to show off what they’ve learned during their time with RCTC,” King said.
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