Lois Warwick (left) plays the lead role in the FVGSS: A Musical Theatre Company production of Pinocchio the panto – co-written and co-directed by her mom Barbie.

Wooden puppet just wants to entertain

Renamed Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan chipping away at Pinocchio panto.

Where else can you cheer for a wooden puppet on a quest to become a real boy and boo the villains without your parents telling you to keep quiet?

What if they actually cheer along with you?

FVGSS: A Musical Theatre Society launches its 35th season at the Surrey Arts Centre with Pinocchio, the 2016 installment of its annual Christmas pantomime.

This year’s panto brings back the audience-interactive hijinks, multi-era song-and-dance numbers and a few dashes of puppetry.

Previously produced by FVGSS over 20 years ago, this revival is from a homegrown script written by co-directors Mike Balser and Barbie Warwick.

Last time, Balser played the role of Geppetto. This time, he’s the evil Fungus Fox.

“This is a chance where I actually get to be creepy and mean and villainous,” said Balser on his first time playing a villain. “Villains are way more interesting than heroes! I’m enjoying it already… we’ve done a bunch (of musical] numbers) including a couple that feature Fungus Fox; namely one where I get to hypnotize children and lead them astray out of the village.”

Lois Warwick plays Pinocchio.

Along with established musical director Tim Tucker, resident choreographer Carol Seitz, and debuting production manager Clive “Hitman” Ramroop (who also has a cameo as Stromboli), Warwick and Balser have assembled a solid cast of “perpetually perky panto people” players, including Lois Warwick in the title role, Jake Hildebrand as Geppetto and Melissa Funnell as Jiminy Christmas.

Other cast members include Miriah Reitmeier as Bella Grazia, Roger Kettyls as Mamma Mia, Joni Hayden-Summerton as Fox’s sidekick Kit Kat, Tori Dolmans as the Blues Fairy, Michelle Gaetz as Lampwick, Emma-Rose Harvey as Filament, Tyler Supinsky as Alfonso, Saxony Eccleston as Tammy, Tanya Mills as Lucia, and Paige Thomsen and Samantha Gorin as Mary & Annette.

Pinocchio hits the Surrey Arts Centre  (13750 88 Ave) from Nov. 24 to Dec. 4, Wednesday to Friday at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinées at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are available in person at the Surrey Arts Centre, by phone at 604-501-5566, or online at tickets.surrey.ca

Prices are $27.95 (adult) and $22.95 (senior or student), plus a special rate of $11.95 for all ages on Wednesday and Thursday showings.

For more information, visit the FVGSS website at http://fvgssociety.wixsite.com/fvgss or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FVGSS

Just Posted

Surrey council approves free two-hour parking at city hall, around hospital

Although council gave its blessing to offer the free parking Monday (Nov. 19), it was already made free last week

Surrey School District says it needs 7 new schools in next decade

Surrey council endorsed the district’s 2019-20 capital plan on Monday, Nov. 19

Surrey Fire Service to provide non-emergency dispatch services for Port Moody

It’s said the move will bring in more than $9,000 a year for the City of Surrey

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

Man still in hospital after struck by car in Surrey last week

The man was airlifted to hospital with “potential life-threatening” injuries after the incident

White Rock pier light show

Dancing lights highlighted off the water front

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland’s retrial in father’s murder

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

VIDEO: Young hockey players meet legends in Langley

Eight- and nine-year-olds have close encounter with Dionne, Lafleur and Palmateer

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

Most Read