A Specc-tacular Christmas panto

ake a traditional fairy tale, mix in some new comedic roles and set it to modern music and you’re following the recipe of Specc-tacular...

‘Gretel

‘Gretel

Take a traditional fairy tale, mix in some new comedic roles and set it to modern music and you’re following the recipe of Specc-tacular Productions with their Christmas pantomime Hansel and Gretel.

The play is coming up on Dec. 17-19 at the ACT, and it is the 15th straight year the theatre group has done a Christmas pantomime.

“It’s a great script, and very, very family oriented,” said Jackie Stanley, who is co-directing her third play with Ed Marshall. “There’s lots of audience participation.”

A pantomime is a musical comedy, generally intended as family entertainment, and often with audience members singing or getting in on the action.

Marshall, who is undertaking about his 25th pantomime, noted the tradition of the pantomime dame will be observed through a couple of characters.

“It goes back to the 1800s, when women were not allowed to do theatre work,” said Marshall. “Now it’s more for comedy.”

Both the witch and a traveling gypsy Esmerelda will be dames, played by Patrick Larsen and Dean Anderson, respectively.

There will be two black light numbers, which the directors say have impressive effects, with ethereal music, birds singing and flying, thunderclouds and the witch appearing in a puff of smoke and brimstone.

Stanley said the cast of 25 has been working hard getting the production ready, and is notable for their level of experience and dedication.

“This is the most professional amateur theatre you’ll get in this area,” she said. “At our last show, people are always asking what we’re going to do next year.”

There will also be a gingerbread house competition for all kids aged 5-12. For details and an entry form, contact the newly opened Hansel and Gretel Bakery at 604-463-0034. The audience members will vote for their favourite house, and prizes will be given out at the 2:30 p.m. show on Dec. 19.

Showtimes will be 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 17 and 18, and the schedule for Saturday, Dec. 19 will be 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

• Tickets: 604-476-2787 or see www.theactmapleridge.org.