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Pantomime provides laugh-out-loud fun at the theatre

Review: Ladysmith Little Theatre's production of The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe is a lot of fun.
Actors rehearse for Ladysmith Little Theatre's Christmas pantomime

If you love music, bad jokes and a good story, you’ll love Ladysmith Little Theatre (LLT)’s Christmas pantomime, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

The production contains all of the classical elements of a British pantomime, such as a dame, a hero, a princess and a witch. Throw in contemporary songs, references to local names, audience participation and flying tomatoes, and you’ve got a recipe for fun at the theatre.

In this hilarious story, written by Norman  Robbins, Dame Dallymore’s orphanage is in peril. The cruel Squire wants to make her and all the orphans homeless, and just when the situation seems dire, it gets worse, for a giant treads on the orphanage and smashes it to smithereens. Mother Goose turns the shoe into a home for the orphans and all looks fine — until the giant comes back for his shoe and accidentally carries off Princess Marigold.

Throughout the production, the audience is encouraged to be part of the show, booing and cheering loudly. Audience members even get to throw fake tomatoes at the stage, leading to lots of laugh-out-loud moments.

The actors are all fantastic, and I especially love seeing such a wide range of ages up on the stage. That’s one of the best things about LLT’s Christmas pantomime, in my opinion — there are so many opportunities for children to be part of their first play. This year’s chorus featured adorable four-year-old Alivia Tassone, along with Amelia Trimble, Hannah Copp, Marley Bohmer, Hailey Bohmer, Samantha Barney, Cathryn Barney and Aija Alle-Kopas. They were great, and you couldn’t help but smile as soon as they appeared.

Everyone does a wonderful job, but I have to give special attention to a few actors. Gordon McInnis is terrific as Dame Dallymore, and he and Mort Paul (Old King Cole) have a hilarious singing scene. Shellie Trimble is fabulous as Giggles, and Dover Bay Secondary School students Anne-Marie Walker (Calumnia), Kate Krynowski (Corydon) and Melissa Ann Buckle (Princess Marigold) are all great in their LLT debuts.

Your last chance to catch the pantomime is Tuesday, Dec. 31. There will be a special New Year’s Eve presentation at 8:30 p.m., with appetizers and dessert. Tickets are $40, and doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, call 250-924-0658.

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