Dec. 12 to 29
Fort Edmonton Park
Tickets: $25 to $40. Visit fortedmontonpark.ca
Capitol Theatre at Fort Edmonton Park has increasingly developed a formidable reputation for giving vintage entertainment a fresh platform.
One of its biggest successes has been the Christmas panto, a beloved age-old British tradition that mocks our cherished fairytales with a mischievous dose of humour.
Now in its sixth year, Capitol Theatre mounts Cinderella, a completely different version of the inaugural Cinderella: A Traditional Christmas Pantomime.
St. Albert Children’s Theatre alumna and now respected director Kate Ryan helms this production while playwright Jocelyn Ahlf also plays the role of Madame De Pancake, the evil stepmother.
Ryan was asked to direct the project on short notice and says this about the production:
“This year, it seems very fitting to be celebrating one of the most well-known fairytales ever written, Cinderella! (It’s) a timeless tale about kindness, friendship, finding your voice and making a change,” she said.
Something about the romance and magic of the holiday season always stimulates her senses.
“Growing up, I have always loved this time of year. Something about the snow and colored lights and the wonderful stories that bring families and friends together. A trip to the theatre was always a magical and memorable experience. And now as a parent and artist, I love the sound of children’s laughter during a performance,” Ryan said.
In Ahlf’s new version, the panto is set in a fantasy Edmonton where a prince (Cam Chapman) lives in Castle Downs.
“He’s running away from life. He wants an uncomplicated life. He’s courageous, loves sports and is uncomfortable around girls,” Ryan noted.
His vain valet Selkirk, played by St. Albert actress Alex Dawkins, instead pushes the prince to live up to his royal pedigree.
Bella King plays the downtrodden heroine, Cinderella, saddled with two horrible stepsisters: the petulant, demanding Nostril (Corben Kushneryk) and the sickly, whiney Poutine (Josh Travnik).
“They’re highly insecure and they love to drown themselves in bling and social media.”
In the De Pancake household, Buttons (Jason Hardwick), a servant-dog, is Cinderella’s only friend. That is until Rachel Bowron’s Bunny, Fairy Queen of Rabbit Hill, shows up to deliver a few lessons about life.
“The story is set in our very magical Edmonton with a ball in Castle Downs and adventures into the Calling Woods. So I look forward to hearing people cheer the hero, boo the villain, laugh, call out and sing along!
“It’s such a wonderful way to spend the holiday season. It’s funny. It’s sweet and it’s romantic. You’ll laugh yourself silly. It’s very cathartic.”