• James Parry

Somewhere over the rainbow, pantomime returns to Hudson Village Theatre


PHOTO BY ELIZABETH HARWOOD

The Cowardly Lion and friends join Dorothy and her pet pooch Toto en route to the Emerald City in Hudson Village Theatre’s Christmas panto, The Wizard of Oz.

Well, they may not be in Kansas anymore. But they will certainly be in Hudson this Christmas and holiday season delighting old and young alike in true pantomime style as they wend their way along the Yellow Brick Road and come up against hair-raising encounters that have captured imaginations since 1939 when Judy Garland in her sequined red slippers first sang Over The Rainbow in the MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz.

In a magical tale that sees Dorothy, her Aunt Em, and her beloved pet pooch Toto, being blown away in a tornado and coming to rest in a fairytale land called Oz. Where they team up with a very unusual cast of characters - the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion - and embark upon a quest to see the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City, each of them seeking what they want most in life, only to be told that they must first complete certain tasks before he fulfills their wishes.

Well, for lovers of pantomime, their wishes will certainly come true in this laugh-filled production - complete with music, dance, and song - directed by Glen Robinson, and on stage for 20 performances at Hudson Village Theatre, 28 Wharf Road, from December 15 through January 8.

“What makes for a good panto?” was asked Robinson who last year directed Peter Pan and the year before, Cinderella, at HVT. “Good acting, innovative choreography, live band music, and a great story with a good moral message,” he replied.

With some 100 actors on stage – the panto being double cast - aged from four to 65, and a crew of 22 with five in the band, the production began rehearsals back in September with set design by Lea Durocher, musical direction by Andrew McCafferty, and choreography by Kerwin Barrington.

Sure sounds like a lot of fun for the entire family at HVT and here's a fun fact about the 1939 movie that I doubt will be replicated in the panto for obvious reasons. Evidently the special effects crew used flavoured Jell-O powder to colour the horses for the Emerald City scenes. It was a fast and snappy shoot since said horses got a taste for it and were always licking themselves clean. Now that is the stuff of panto!

For reservations, call the HVT Box Office at (450) 458-5361. And don't be afraid to laugh at the punny jokes folks. After all, in panto, the punnier the jokes the better!

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