Pantomime Shows in Vancouver

For 30 years, the Deep Cove Stage players have tended the flame of pantomime—that most English of Christmastime entertainments. (Being “most English,” it borrows liberally from the French and Italian.) Pantomime typically involves an unwieldy number of actors (few professionally trained) racing across the stage between moments of slapstick, actions either heroic or dastardly, and puns of mouldering antiquity. It’s great family fun, and to make it even greater, this year’s Deep Cove director decided that, to celebrate three decades, he’d return to Cinderella, the show that launched the company’s pantos in 1981. Damian Inwood’s going big—doubling the number of “dames” (men dressed as ladies) and “boys” (the reverse), wrangling a dozen principals and a chorus of a dozen more, all to deliver maximum bang. “I like to work in as many musical production numbers as I can. It’s a lot of work, but it lifts the show.” Inwood knows the shows from his Wimbledon childhood and got involved when his son (now a lighting designer in New York) got cast; dad followed and has been acting in or directing them ever since. (He was also the Province theatre critic for a stretch.) “Pantomime’s probably as much fun as a person can have, wearing a dress. It’s that combination of fairy story with good and evil, and good always wins.” Dec. 14-31, Deep Cove Shaw Theatre,



ALI BABA (Dec. 16-Jan. 7) Opened in 1964; they claim more annual productions that any other nonprofessional company in North America. First panto: 1985. Metro Theatre, 1370 S.W. Marine Dr., 604-266-7191.

THE SWORD IN THE STONE  (Dec.15-31) Royal Canadian Theatre founder Ellie King (“Vancouver’s Queen of Panotmine”) acted in her first Pantomine (Dick Whittington) at age three. Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave., 604-501-5566.

ALADDIN (Dec. 2-18) The North Vancouver Community Players moved into the hall in 1972; their pantomime is a 20-year tradition. Hendry Hall Theatre, 815 East 11th St., 604-980-3744.

MOTHER GOOSE by the BROTHERS DIMM (Nov. 30-Dec. 26) The storied White Rock Players have been mounting pantos since 1954. Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd., 604-536-7535.