Arts & Culture

Rollicking fun

By Lorraine Graves

Published 2:26 PST, Thu December 19, 2019

Last Updated: 2:44 PST, Tue January 7, 2020

For many families, for many years, the Metro Theatre Pantomime has been a fun holiday tradition. 

Metro continues their tradition this year with Alice in Wonderland. 

In true panto style, the plot is loosely based on the story we have come to know but also, in true panto style, there is a large, blousy “dame” played by a man, an MC, (this year, it is the White Rabbit), a pair of comic characters (this year three – Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dummer), and a sweet female heroine (Alice), and the prince. This year, the break from British panto tradition is that the prince is played by a young man instead of a young woman. 

(In years past, Christine Quintana, more recently known for taking the lead in Gateway’s Yoga Play, was the prince.) 

Another tried and true tradition with this panto is the audience participation. Flopsy, the White Rabbit, played by Emma Ciprian, coached us to say, “Hi Flopsy,” whenever she came out. She also taught us to boo the scary Demon, Tyler Felbel, whenever he appeared and to cheer for the Good Fairy, the beautiful Kate Yahn, each time she took the stage. 

With all that booing, cheering and greeting, this traditional panto joyously breaks all the rules we were taught about how to behave in the theatre. 

The only rule that Metro has for the panto, no eating or drinking inside the theatre, was broken by a long row of family members sitting beside us as they loudly munched on and passed a never-ending supply of crinkling bags of chips, back and forth, throughout most of the performance. It distracted from the production’s pleasure. Perhaps, when making the humourous suggestion, in song in this panto, that all electronic devices and things that go beep be turned off, they could also mention the munching and sipping ban. 

The set was well done. Particularly convincing and stunning was the tree at the edge of the stage, with the rabbit hole down which they all tumble. 

There are some clever treats in Erik Gow’s script such as when Alice encounters the four doors who, yes, sing a Doors number and then offer humour such as, “Do you like my knockers?”

The big audience participation number, The Twelve Days of Christmas, means standing up on your birth month (eg., 5 = May) then sitting back down again quickly, singing all the while. Laughter ensues. 

This is an afternoon or evening of singing, dancing, booing, cheering glee for all generations. For truly affordable fun, check out their two-for-one Friday performances. 

With a vast cast, it is hard to single out each performer some of whom are from Richmond. If you enjoy good community theatre, with a mix of skilled amateurs and professional actors who’ve taken day jobs, this rollicking fun time is for you. 

Just across the Arthur Laing Bridge from Richmond, Metro Theatre, 1370 Marine Dr. (at Granville), usually has ample free street parking. 

Tickets available through the website or by calling the box office at 604-266-7191.

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