Hansel Gretel and the Strolling Players [NWR]

By Staff Reporter

December 13, 2018
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British pantomime fun returns to New Westminster

The Royal Canadian Theatre Company presents Hansel, Gretel and the Strolling Players

Families and folks of all ages are invited to turn out for merriment and mayhem when Royal Canadian Theatre Company brings its traditional British pantomime back to New Westminster. Hansel, Gretel and the Strolling Players is onstage Friday, Jan. 4 and Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Massey Theatre.

Ellie King, a.k.a. the “Queen of Panto,” brings a newly written script to life featuring all the action expected of a holiday pantomime. The story follows Hansel and Gretel, who live with their father in the town of Understrudel, where the apple crop has failed for the past five years.

When the silly and entertaining Strolling Players come to town, they play their part in foiling the dastardly plans of Mistress Grimm. While Honey Crisp and Billy fall in love, and Dame Lotta Wobbledart teaches her new students, Hansel and Gretel are led into the woods, unknowingly headed towards a dastardly fate. Can the Good Fairy, Queen Bluebird, win the day and save the children? Or will King Raven and Witch Grimm turn the children into servants forever?

As with all panto performances, the audience can cheer the good guys and boo the bad guys, plus enjoy all the cheesy puns and jokes, music and magic that they’ve come to expect. This year marks the debut of a brand-new “dame” – the tradition of a man dressed up as a female character, this time played by James King.

A New Westminster family is front and centre in this year’s cast, as Stephen Elcheshen plays King Raven, with Kerri Norris as Livia Grimm and their children Aeron as Hansel and Cayleigh as Gretel. Also part of the fun are Rebecca Trotzuk as Queen Blue Bird, Michael Widman as Englebert Strudelmeister, Charles Buettner as McIntosh, Shaun McHale as Charlie Wobbledart, Kris Williamson Dewar as Granny Smith, Rachel Craig as Honey Crisp and Crystal Weltzin as Tiffany Grimm.

King is the director, with Stephanie Bruce as stage manager.

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