Eleanor Perrin previews the upcoming Theatre Arts Society pantomime
That’s right, the time is almost upon us for the annual Theatre Arts Society Panto. This year the play of choice is Puss in Boots, written by Chloe Atkinson and directed by Jack Parker and Finn Todd, all recent Essex Drama graduates.
So what’s it all about? Loosely based on the classic fairy tale, Puss in Boots is a tale of new-found love, panic and jeopardy; basically the life of your typical university student. Dick (Ryan Clune) is a keen first year student who prefers to have his head stuck in a book than the toilets of Sub Zero. He pines after fellow Drama student Sophia (Imogen Hann), but is a hopeless flirt. Things take a turn for the absurd when Dick accidently goes round the Library’s Paternoster, accompanied by Campus Cat Pebbles, and is warped into the world of the book he was carrying at the time, Classical Fairytales From the 1600’s, and a mid-fairy tale crisis. The only way Dick can return to reality and the beautiful Sophia is to live out the fairy tale – a plight that unsurprisingly throws up an array of larger than life characters and one or two familiar faces.
I had the privilege of being invited to a cast rehearsal and spoke exclusively with one half of the directorial team, Jack. The Essex alumni explained: ‘‘What we really wanted this year was to produce a Panto that had good balance, consisting of content relevant to our own university that the students amongst the audience can recognise and relate to, but also rich in fairy tale narrative. Chloe’s script tows that line perfectly’’
“We also wanted to go for spectacle and really take the pantomime back to its origins, hence our decision to include puppetry. We’ve also gone to town with the set-design to create an authentic fairy tale world.”
“Chloe’s script tows that line perfectly”
Who are the characters to look out for? Many of the classic figures appear, including the Gingerbread Man (Ruby Mcilroy), Humpty Dumpty (Billy Dewen) and Rumplestiltskin (Tancrède Chartier). Other characters to look forward to are the villainous Lord Nearquad, and saucy Dame Fiona Finkleberry (Callum Marshall)- after all, what pantomime would be complete without relentless innuendo? Oh, and let’s not forget Pebbles.
Puss in Boots is playing at The Lakeside Theatre December 13th-15th and tickets can be purchased here or in person at the box office. Age recommendation 16+