For the 38th year, Metro Theatre brings Vancouver a traditional English Panto, this season presenting Sinbad! by Ellie King. Whether it’s your first panto or 38th, you’re in for a rollicking good time!
Playwright Ellie King “The Queen of Panto” faithfully preserves the elements of a traditional English panto to be transplanted on the Metro stage. A swashbuckling hero – Sin Bad (played by Adrian Shaffer), sidekick, and brother, Justus Bad (Dimitrios Stephanoy) who also acts as narrator. A love-interest Princess Serena (Sara Antonia Gargaro) who’s no damsel, a ne’er-do-well Anne, Queen of the Pirates (Lauren Ridder) attempting to thwart Sin Bad’s plans. A villanous, demon Old Man of the Sea (Matt Ramer) who is countered by The Good Fairy (Chris McBeath). Sin and Justus’ mother ‘The Dame’ Vera Bad, played with vim and vigor by James T Walker, doing double duty while also directing the show. The Dame is as an essential part of a panto as audience participation and interaction, and James T Walker keeps the spirit alive with his camp, charismatic performance as the formidable Vera Bad. His quick wit, keeping the audience engaged and ensuring any slips in dialogue are promptly recovered, and over the top costume ensures that all eyes are kept on Vera whenever she steps on to the stage.
Working from Ellie Kings script, Director James T Walker, Choreographer Linzi Voth and Musical Director Kerry O’Donovan keep the musical shipshape and Bristol fashion, allowing the zany show to feel like it’s spontaneous. Set Designers Rob Moser and Shel Piercy (who also produces Sindbad!), along with Costume Designer Rene Schindel provide the balance with their work adding authenticity to the pirate tale.
The storyline is fairly simple and mainly provides a framework for the groan inducing ‘dad jokes and puns’, sarcastic asides, political bon mots, and slapstick comedy to engage and entertain the audience, young and old. The joyous excitement and energy of the children in the audience coupled with the nostalgia of veteran panto goers were contagious as the entire audience got in on the fun, and even got to their feet, literally throughout the show.
Put aside any usual reserve and decorum of a night at the theatre, and bring the whole family or your gaggle of friends for a great giggle and guffaw at Metro Theatre’s Sinbad! The traditional English Pantomime plays until January 1, 2023 at Metro Theatre, 1370 Marine Drives (in Marpole). Tickets and showtimes are available online at metrotheatre.com/sinbad