It won’t be your grandfather’s Scrooge, or even your father’s, but it’s sure to be yours after you see A Christmas Carol presented pantomime style at the Mercury Theatre.
The Shawnigan Players are teaming up with the Mercury Players to give the Dickens’ classic story of the emergence of the holiday spirit a unique twist, bringing it to you with all the usual trappings of the English “panto”. That means there’s likely to be some cross-dressing, music, and plenty of hilarity for your post-Christmas entertainment.
These shows have been hugely popular with Cowichan Valley families since their outset more than a decade ago as they give everyone a chance to get out of the house and take the visiting relatives to see a show they’ll talk about for years.
They are often based (sometimes quite loosely) on fairy tales like Cinderella or Rumpelstiltskin but this year, the decision was made to look outside the box and take on A Christmas Carol, surely a story as ready for fun as any fairy tale.
Some of our favourite Valley actors have teamed up to bring this one to the stage.
Ebeneezer Scrooge is played by the inimitable Alex Gallacher, with Bill Levity as Bob Cratchit, and Rien Vesseur as Marley’s Ghost.
But look for many members of the 20-strong cast to show up in more than one role, notably Mahalia Benty, who played the Prince in last year’s Cinderella, is playing Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, and also Mrs. Joy, according to Levity.
“This script was written by Nick Moore, who did Cinderella last year, so it’s really great,” he said. “The Cratchit kids are really cute. But I’m not cross-dressing this year, which is a real change for me.”
Costumes are by Jan Ovans— one of the witches in last summer’s Macbeth — and as is usual with panto, are likely to be completely outrageous. (Hint: Black stockings might show up where you least expect them).
The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. nightly from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30 with a 3 p.m. matinee on Dec. 31.
Tickets are $10 each.
“We’re again trying to keep them inexpensive so everyone can afford to go,” Levity said.
Get your tickets at Ten Old Books in Duncan or Mason’s Store in Shawnigan Lake but don’t wait. These family-friendly shows sell out really quickly. You can also purchase them through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/2017-panto-a-christmas-carol-produced-by-the-shawnigan-mercury-players-tickets-40067044609
The Mercury Theatre is located at 331 Brae Road near downtown Duncan and be sure to get there early if you need parking near the venue. Those spaces are gone before you know it.