British pantomime brings fairy tale to life

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Four actresses are ready to take flight in a remix of the classic fairy tale Peter Pan, complete with cross dressing and audience interaction next month.

Goodger-Pink Family Theatre is returning to the Rotary Performing Arts Centre stage with a hilarious twist on Peter Pan, British pantomime style, over the next two weekends.

Artistic director Samantha Duff said the audience will see Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook and Smee, played by an all female cast, embark on a quest to find the greatest treasure in all of Neverland.

“Peter Pan is such a well-known tale we thought it would be really fun to do a remixed version of it,” Duff said. “We’ve wanted to do Peter Pan for a while now.”

The performance will be filled with action, audience interaction and side-splitting humour, she said. Duff said this is the fifth consecutive holiday pantomime the production company has put on.

“We like to do physical storytelling,” she said. “We have dialogue, but there is something special about, especially for the younger kids, getting to see a story unfolding physically as well as verbally that seems to really hit home with them and draw them into the story even more.”

Another highlight is the on-stage sword fights. Duff said a certified fight choreography assisted the four actresses with stage combat.

During the past few weeks, the actresses worked hard to make the characters larger than life as British pantomime theatre tends to lend itself to, she said.

Duff plays Captain Hook, who she portrays as sharp, witty and creative.

“There’s a point where he dresses up as an old lady to get what he needs out of Peter and Wendy,” she said. “He’s sneaky and creative in his way and his manipulations.”

Captain Hook also has a short fuse, especially when it comes to sidekick Smee.

“Smee’s lack of intelligence is very frustrating to Captain Hook,” she said. “It has been the most fun character I think I maybe have ever played.”

Smee, on the other hand, is very obedient around Captain Hook, but in a comedic way, explained Duff.

“You almost fall in love with Smee because he is so innocent,” she said. “There’s times in the script when he is onstage by himself so you get to see that difference in character than when he is with Captain Hook.”

As for Wendy, Duff said she’s very linear in her thinking and detective-like.

“Things are black and white and ‘let’s use our intelligence to come up with a plan,’” she said. “Peter is very much the opposite, very impulsive. He wants to have fun and get things done.”

Kelly Malcolm plays the rambunctious and mischievous Peter, who likes to play tricks on the pirates and loves to get his own way. Malcolm has experience performing for Theatre Calgary and New West Theatre in Lethbridge.

“Peter is youthful,” said Malcolm.

“Not ever wanting to grow up can sometimes be challenging when they try and move forward and all he wants to do is play games and have fun. Peter and Wendy have control over the story so they’re often in competition in who is telling the better story.”

Malcolm said she’s been a huge fan of Peter Pan for years, has always wanted to play him and is glad to be a part of Peter Pan and the Secret Key.

“There’s a lot of twists and turns,” she said. “There is some sword fighting in it and lovely moments of interaction between the actors and the audience.”

This is Malcolm’s third year working with Goodger-Pink.

“It’s just an absolute blast to work with, particularly, that group of people and do this kind of show,” she said.

“The reactions that you get from the audience are just so wonderful and you don’t really get that with a lot of traditional theatres. With a pantomime you have to have that relationship with the audience because we are calling out things to them and they are calling back. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Peter Pan and the Secret Key runs Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. and Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre.

Tickets to see Peter Pan and the Secret Key cost $15 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased at 403-938-3204 or goodgerpinkproductions.com A preview will run Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. with tickets costing $5 per person.

Thirty minutes before the show, Okotoks Culture and Heritage is inviting youngsters to make crafts downstairs.

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