Santa gets a makeover in Surrey’s panto

SURREY — If you saw Santa exchanging his stipend of milk and cookies for a kale shake and a handful of almonds, dropping weight until he’s a svelte 110 pounds, it might be cause for alarm. At least that’s what Mrs. Claus thinks in the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of Santa Claus: The Panto.

In the tradition of the pantomime, a musical, family-friendly comedy characterized by groan-worthy jokes, cross-dressing actors and very loosely-based on a well-known fairytale, FVGSS is taking the story of Santa and giving it a yuppie, modern twist.

The play, which starts Nov. 26 at the Surrey Arts Centre, stars Luke George Branson as Santa and Croy Jenkins as Mrs. Claus.

“Santa Claus has gone green,” explained Lyn Verra-Lay, one of the show’s producers.

“So, he’s using his iPhone and he’s doing yoga and meditating. The man who’s playing him is about 5’10 and about 110 pounds, so he’s not your traditional Santa. Mrs. Claus is very distraught about this.”

According to the show’s sneak preview, the play deals with Santa’s new low-fat diet, penchant for technology and getting approached by clever coal salesmen who persuade not-so-jolly St. Nick that most kids are more naughty than they are nice.

“There’s a Christy Clark joke in there — it has to do with the naughty and nice list, and we’ll let you guess what Christy Clark is,” Verra-Lay joked.

Political jokes aside, the producer said the plot relies on the magic of Santa and the hilarity of our modern lives.

“Basically throughout, it’s this whole thing about Mrs. Claus trying to get him back to traditional Santa and Santa saying, ‘No, we can still be green and healthy and still have Christmas,’” she said.

“He wants to be hip and with the times, and Mrs. Claus is saying that’s not what people want.”

Coincidentally, as part of FVGSS, Verra-Lay knows something about giving people what they want. The society, which began in Surrey in 1982, put on its first panto in 1986 as a fundraiser for the group’s spring production, but the audience loved it so much that they couldn’t stop there.

“We’ve been doing them ever since (1986) because they were a fundraiser, yes, but they just became a tradition with our audience so we never stopped,” the producer told the Now, noting that its audience has been mainly British ex-pats.

While Santa Claus: The Panto may be all about slapstick arguing between Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Verra-Lay assures “it all culminates in a happy ending."

Santa Claus: The Panto runs until Dec. 7 at the Surrey Arts Centre. The show is on nightly at 7:30 p.m., and at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 and Dec. 6 and 7. Tickets are $27.85 and available online at Tickets.surrey.ca or at the Surrey Arts Centre box office. FVGSS is accepting donations for the Surrey Christmas Bureau during the productions.

kalexandra@thenownewspaper.com

@kristialexandra

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

Just Posted

North Surrey rink to reopen first as part of city’s phased schedule for facilities

Councillor pushes for Surrey’s pools and aquatic centres to reopen this month

Surrey councillors wary of ‘streamlining’ environmental development permits process

Mayor Doug McCallum notes B.C. government only agency that can issue environment permit

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help Surrey boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

City buys century-old East Delta church

St. Stephen’s Church to be renovated and restored, used as community services and programming space

White Rock Players Club productions up for CTC Awards

Three productions receive a total of 19 nominations

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Most Read