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A Merry Panto Christmas to you all!

In this stressful time of worldwide uncertainty, wondering what new and unexpected things are going to turn up next, isn’t it great to have something cheerful to look forward to? 

By Joel Adams

Sunday 6 December 2020, 11:00AM

From left: Iwiyisi Tasker as the Empress in costume; Joel Adams, the article writer and playing the Widow Twankey in the play; Tony Edwards, the director.

From left: Iwiyisi Tasker as the Empress in costume; Joel Adams, the article writer and playing the Widow Twankey in the play; Tony Edwards, the director.

As an American, I am finding, as we prepare the Christmas Pantomime, ‘Aladdin’, that this is as nostalgic a Christmas event for Brits and those from the Commonwealth, as A Christmas Carol or turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce are for Americans. We have heard so many people exclaiming it’s just what is needed to make this Christmas festive! So many of us, who might have celebrated in our home country or had relatives visiting, may be feeling homesick or a little sad this year. We are therefore delighted to do something to help alleviate that for people all over the island.

“But wait a minute! What’s this Joel Adams guy on about?” Oops, I got a little ahead of myself. Theatrix is preparing its first-ever English-style pantomime, Aladdin: A Christmas Panto, at the Underwood Art Factory on the evenings of Dec 11, 12 – and 13, and it’s guaranteed to be a barrel of fun. 

All proceeds go to the charity, The Good Shepherd Phuket Town, with their own Chantal Fernandes as our co-producer working overtime to bring all the elements of costumes, props, sets, lights, sound, etc., together in time, not to mention pre-show and interval entertainment. She is a wonder and we really couldn’t have done the show without her. 

The Good Shepherd Phuket Town, helmed by Sister Lakana, runs amazing programmes, from feeding starving families in the slum areas of Phuket Town to protecting migrant women and children from human trafficking and exploitation through education. If you are looking to give back to the community, you are welcome to join their Volunteer Program which currently has 16 volunteers teaching nine subjects and changing over 240 children’s lives. Many of the volunteers have commented that it has been one of the most rewarding and heart-warming experiences that they have had on Phuket.

We also have the privilege of having Tony Edwards directing us. Tony has years of experience in movies such as ‘Star Trek IV’, ‘Starman’ and ‘Hot Shots’ and on TV in ‘Seinfeld’, ‘House’ and ‘Mad About You’. He is also well-known for his improv and standup comedy in LA, California. Fortunately for us, has retired here and is an enthusiastic member of Theatrix. 

The cast of the play is extremely varied with members hailing from England, the Netherlands, the USA, France, Thailand, Myanmar and Wales. Varying in age from 9 years old all the way up to, well, we won’t talk about that. But suffice it to say, all of Shakespeare’s seven ages of man are represented except the infantile. 

I am excited to transform into the Dame “Widow Twankey”, the type of role I have long wanted to play. I even get to do my version of singing. I’m not going to win any Grammys, but I’m having fun. It’s also a pleasure for me to concentrate purely on acting. For the first time since Theatrix was founded, I am not involved in the directorial side of the production and that has been a relief, I can tell you. 

Let’s not forget the Underwood Family, whose amazing team led by Mango Yordbear, is fast building a cultural centre for the arts in Phuket. The Underwood Art Factory’s unique setting has all the interesting atmosphere you could want, for theatre and arts enthusiasts together with exceptional food and drinks from their popular restaurant, The Grind Cafe. Their sets and décor are always a wonder and we expect no less from their efforts this time. Expect more marvelous productions from this marvelous venue.

So, what can you expect of this event? It’s FUN for all ages. You can expect lots of slapstick and adult comedy, songs, cross gender casting and general mayhem and fun. For those of you who are not familiar with English-style pantos, loud audience reactions are expected. You cheer the hero, boo the villain, argue with the cast like this: ‘No, they’re not’, ‘Yes, they are’, ‘No, they’re not’, ‘Yes, they are’, ‘Are they?’ You’re expected to warn the clueless protagonists when danger is near and more; nobody knows what you might be called on to do. Just accept it that you are not going for an evening to sit back and relax and enjoy a show that takes place without you. You are an integral part of the evening, so join in with vigour!

Tickets are priced at B500 for children and B900 for adults. The doors open at 6 pm with carol singing by the “Good Shepherd Phuket Town Choir”. Delicious food and drink will also be available from The Grind Café. The curtain rises at 6:45 and the show begins! There will be an interval between the acts and all should be finished before 9:30 pm. There will be photo ops for the kids, after the show and general mixing and mingling, so don’t rush off. Hang around and let us get to know you and you us. 

For more details search Facebook for “Aladdin Christmas Panto” or contact Chantal at 089 874 2942 or email chantal.fernandes@gmail.com


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