Melanie Mercer (left) as Cinderella and Rosie Forst as the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella, the Panto,” a FVGSS theatre production at Surrey Arts Centre from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8. (submitted photo)

Melanie Mercer (left) as Cinderella and Rosie Forst as the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella, the Panto,” a FVGSS theatre production at Surrey Arts Centre from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8. (submitted photo)

MINTY: No magic wand to create ’70s-themed ‘Cinderella’ panto in Surrey

Cast, crew and directors work hard to bring musical show to arts centre stage, starting Nov. 27

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

It’s almost bibbidi-bobbidi-boo time! Cinderella, the Panto, presented by FVGSS, the Surrey-based musical theatre organization, is set to hit the main stage at Surrey Arts Centre for a week-plus run starting Nov. 27.

This traditional panto, written by James Barry, is filled with tunes from the 1970s and tells the story of a girl who finds her prince charming. It’s a fairytale, so of course there is a happy ending. There has to be a happy ending because the cast and crew have been putting in three rehearsal nights per week for the last three months.

Director Mike Balser has almost lost count of how many pantos he has either directed or performed in. His enthusiasm remains intact – and that takes more than the magic required to turn a pumpkin into a coach. The cast for Cinderella includes newcomers as well as the very experienced. Bring all these diverse people together and turn a script into a show – that is Mike’s magic.

Music director Timothy Tucker is also a FVGSS veteran. There are 16 songs in this show – and that is a lot of music. Way to go, Tim. Kailley Roesler heads the choreography team, with Sydney Pauhl as assistant. The choreography has to be bright, tight and help tell the story. That is a real challenge and requires lots of practicing from the chorus. There is no magic wand to wave when it comes to learning the choreo. Oh yes, you have to sing as the same time as your feet move. Brain freeze.

Eleven-year-old Annie MacEwan is already a veteran performer, and this is her third panto with FVGSS. Great performer, and she doesn’t mind sharing the stage with her brother Robbie. It’s all in the family as mom, Rebekah, is a marvelous performer and has starred in many FVGSS productions. Ah yes, the family that ‘plays’ together.

This year, there are some performers you may have seen in White Rock Players pantos. Bryce Paul Mills – larger than life, as usual – is one of the ‘ugly’ stepsisters, and Angel Duran Heon is the other stepsister. These two need no fairy godmother to assist them. These guys know how to wear a dress – what else is there to say?

Fairy Godmother? Of course there is a fairy godmother. Rosie Forst returns to the FVGSS family for this panto. Last time, she was the bad fairy. She is brilliantly bad, but as the ‘good’ fairy she is bibbidi-bobbidi. Welcome back to a Surrey stage, Rosie.

Jesse Redmond is Buttons, Adrian Duncan is Baron Hardup and Juliana Peralta is the Baroness. Erin Mulcahy is Dandini and Prince Charming is played by Amanda Drebot. And wearing the glass slipper is a girl with a magical voice, Melanie Mercer. It’s all about the shoes, you know.

There is a lot of diversity in the cast and crew. Young and old. Newbies and veterans. It makes for a very magical mix and certainly celebrates all the positive aspects of participation in community theatre. It may not be ‘real,’ and we may never have a fairy godmother to make our dreams come true, but take this moment in time to simply enjoy. Laugh. Sing along.

FVGSS is making it quite easy to afford. For shows on Nov. 27 and 28, all tickets are only $12. On Nov. 30, if you are 60 or over, your ticket price is $18. Betcha the over-60s will remember all the ’70s tunes!

Cinderalla, the Panto runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8 at the arts centre, located at Bear Creek Park. Phone 604-501-5566 for details, or go to the FVGSS website (fvgss.org) for more info, with a link to tickets.surrey.ca.

When you go to see Cinderella, bring a little Christmas magic along with you. FVGSS collects toys for the Surrey Christmas Bureau, so please bring an unwrapped toy to the performance. It makes a difference.

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. Email: melminty@telus.net.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Inspector Cliff Chastellaine, of the Surrey RCMP Major Crime Unit, announced Tuesday (March 10, 2020) that Surrey RCMP is partnering with the Bolo Program to find Meaz Nour-Eldin, who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. On Dec. 4, 2020, Surrey RCMP announced Nour-Eldin had been arrested. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
RCMP say man, wanted in connection to a Surrey kidnapping, has been arrested

Police say Meaz Nour-Eldin was ‘hiding-out’ in Montreal

Fresgo Inn chef/owner Walter Wolff in the kitchen of the self-serve restaurant in Whalley. “I’ve got no plan for the retirement,” he says. “My customers always ask me, but as long as I feel good, healthy, I like to come here.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
VIDEO: Hungry like the Wolff at Surrey diner he’s had cooking for 40 years

But lately, COVID-19 has soured business at Fresgo Inn and other B.C. restaurants

teaser
Tweedsmuir ‘high flyer’ set to hit court with UFV women’s volleyball team

Recruit Sydney Wright says it’s ‘an exciting opportunity to help build the team in its new division’

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey school district sends out 16 exposure notices overnight

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Shortly after he was sworn in, Surrey mayor Doug McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition passed a motion to cancel a planned light rail system to Langley. (File photo: Amy Reid)
LETTER: Vote them all out in 2022

Reader says the next election can’t come soon enough

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon (Dec. 3) after an inmate escaped from corrections officers. The man was taken back into custody a short while later. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
UPDATE: Prisoner shot at by guards in Abbotsford had history of escapes

Stephane Bissonnette escapes from corrections officers, but is arrested a short while later

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read