The Peninsula Players are back this Christmas with their annual pantomime, this time with a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Co-director Allan Haynes was responsible for the overall plot of the show, and he credited co-writer John Watts with the majority of the jokes. Some are corny, which Haynes expects “will get a groan rather than a laugh” but some are some gentle laughs at the expense of local politicians or landmarks like the McTavish roundabout.
“At its baldest, it’s: Princess goes to sleep for 100 years, wakes up, gets married,” said Haynes. “That’s basically what the story is, so it needs a lot of extra work. And also you want it to be funny!”
The pantomime tradition began in England and combines a well-known tale with slapstick humour and audience participation. This year’s production of Sleeping Beauty uses a variety of Beatles songs like “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” which is the first time the Peninsula Players have ever relied on one artist’s work.
It is also Melanie Ehrlich’s first go at directing, though she has acted in several productions, including some with Haynes.
“He was my King, and I was the Green Queen,” said Ehrlich.
Haynes is picky about line readings, and Ehrlich is picky about blockings and line movements, so Haynes said they compliment each other well.
“I know it’s a part of me that’s been in there for a long time. I’ve just been too busy being on the stage; I’m usually the one auditioning.”
Ehrlich praised the dedication of the cast, crew and band, who have two-hour rehearsals each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Ehrlich said that for some families, it has become a yearly tradition. Of their cast of 31, about half are under the age of 16, and some have returned three or four times.
Sleeping Beauty is playing at the Berwick Royal Oak on Dec. 15-16 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. There are additional performances at the Mary Winspear Centre Dec. 22, 23 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 26, 27 and 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Mary Winspear Centre box office at 250 656 2075.