Sooke Harbour PLayers presented Blithe Spirit in 2017. The acting troupe will premier Ben Crocker's Camelot on Friday, Nov. 25. (File - Sooke News Mirror)

On stage: Sooke Harbour Players take a different approach to classic tale

A pantomime spin on Camelot

Sooke Harbour Players are taking a novel approach to a classic tale of love and knights in shining armour.

“We decided to turn our hand to pantomime,” said Sooke Harbour Players president Andrew Donnelly regarding the upcoming production of Camelot the Pantomime. “Pantomime is usually based on a fairy tale or stories based on legendary characters, with lots of audience involvement.”

The story is loosely derived from the legend of the Knights of the Round Table, with characters including Prince Arthur played by Brielle Hogan, and Princess Guinevere played by Sage Easton-Levy.

Villains Morgan Le Fay is portrayed by Margaret Ayres, and her husband in real life, Tim Ayres, takes on the role of Valerin, King of the Tangled Wood. One comic character, Arthur’s one-time nursemaid, Connie is played by Joe Scheubel. Paul Holmes plays the court jester, Laughalot, who really wants to be a knight but is a little afraid. Merlin, the aging magician, is played in his later years by Willis Taylor, with the younger version of Merlin portrayed by Mason Rae.

Camelot the Pantomime, written by Ben Crocker, is directed by Susan Browne, with Marian Schols serving as musical director, Sarah Wilford as assistant director, and choreography by Calli Rae. Costume design is by Nicole Rae and set design by Kimberley Zutz, with set construction by Brian Zutz and team.

“This is a real family show for all ages, presented and performed by families from Sooke and the surrounding area,” Donnelly said. “These last two years have been very difficult for performing arts groups like ourselves. COVID shut us down for more than two years.”

Increasing costs charged by rights holders charges for box office shows have had a significant impact as well, he added.

Originally founded in 1982 as Stage West, Sooke Harbour Players is celebrating 40 years of community theatre. Recent pre-pandemic productions included Annie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Treasure Island.

Camelot the Pantomime takes place Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26 from 7:15 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:15 p.m. at Edward Milne Community School Theatre at 6218 Sooke Rd. The following week’s shows are Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:15 p.m., and Dec. 4 at 2:15 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $16 for under 18 and seniors, and free for children under five years of age. They are on sale at The Stick, online at www.sookeharbourplayers.com, or by calling Susan at 250-415-9410. There are a limited number of free tickets available for the Nov. 25 show only for those experiencing financial difficulty by calling Susan at 250-415-9410.

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