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Short Skirt lifts it up

Annual pantomime takes on politicians, rescuers, Rebagliati

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P>By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Captain Hook’s Revenge

Where: MY Millennium Place

When: Nov. 24-26

Tickets: $18/$14

When director/writer Heather Paul searched through scripts for Short Skirt Theatre’s annual Christmas pantomime and came across the tale of the boy who never wanted to grow up but continue living in Never Never Land, somehow the story reminded her of another place where boys refuted manhood.

The classic tale of Peter Pan was the perfect fit for Whistler, only in this twisted rendition, the Lost Boys couldn’t be lost – Whistler Search and Rescue workers were far too competent at their jobs for that.

Pokes and more often bruising prods are made at Whistler in Short Skirt Theatre’s third annual pantomime Captain Hook’s Revenge, Thursday, Nov. 24 to Saturday, Nov. 26 at MY Millennium Place.

"It’s turned into an annual roast on Whistler," said Paul during a rehearsal for the show at the Four Seasons Resort.

"There are a lot of jokes on the election. It’s a roast. We are at such a boiling point. It’s a great time to get everything out and laugh at it and laugh at ourselves. And for visitors, (the show) is a great insight into Whistler minds."

A very scary but true thought when one of the cast members – a gentleman pirate dressed in drag as a cheerleader – is running for council. But, what would the annual pantomime be without long-time-theatre-veteran Chris Quinlan shakin’ his bootie and breasts for the worthwhile cause of laughter and community theatre. He isn’t alone up there.

"It’s amazing how upset some of the guys got when they found out they didn’t get to wear dresses," Paul said, laughing. "Tinkerbell is played by a firefighter. He is going to get killed. They are all so brave."

With Beyonce as the muse for his character, Whistler firefighter Fish Boulton can definitely expect some rumblings around the water cooler at work.

Construction workers, accountants, photographers and IT systems analysts make up the rest of the colourful crew who remain united in their passion for performance, or at least comedy.

"I like the camaraderie," said Ryan "Reggie" Robinson, first-time actor and a photographer for Coast Mountain Photography. "We are all deep down inside a bunch of pirates."

To say Paul took some liberties with the classic tale would be an understatement.

Since when did Wendy’s mother, a burly hairy dame played by male actor Shannon Hearn, don a sequined dress and f@#%-me boots? Or Captain Hook rattle off orders in a distinctively James Brown vibrato? Or perform the Highland fling with a Scottish pirate named Sharkey?

In true pantomime fashion, Paul stretches the characters and script beyond the classic tale, but not beyond comprehension.

The romantic tale of the two ingénues Peter Pan and Wendy stay true to form, allowing children to follow the tale they know and love.

"The kids love knowing what is going on and they aren’t afraid to shout out at the actors," Paul said.

Conga lines, musical interludes and special appearances from big mountain skier Shawn "Smiley" Nesbitt and Mayor Hugh O’Reilly can be expected. Originally, Ross Rebagliati joined Smiley as one of the Lost Boys, playing himself and with it poking fun at himself. However, he left the cast due to his demanding snowboarding schedule although his character lives on.

"We were worried people would think we were being mean to Ross," Paul said of keeping all the Rebagliati jokes in the show. "But, he supported it and we are putting in the program that, ‘No Rebagliatis were hurt during the course of the performance.’"

Join in the slap stick humour and knock knock jokes that leave you groaning with a grin and booing the villains and cheering on the victors Thursday through Saturday.

To pay homage to Whistler Search and Rescue who will save the Lost Boys from the Cake Hole, partial proceeds from the Thursday night performance will be donated to the volunteer-run organization.

Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. with a 12:30 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for students and seniors.

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