Left - Michael Loney
Pantomime is one of those very special genres that cater for both children and their older caretakers. During yesterday’s matinee performance of Puss in Boots, hundreds of children laughed, pointed, asked endless “why” questions and even shouted up at the stage as the actors threw themselves about melodramatically. All the while, the adults were chuckling quietly to themselves at the references to current affairs and naughty double entendres.
Based on the original story by Charles Perrault and adapted by director John Senczuk, the MS Society’s Puss in Boots tells the story of heroes and villains, good v’s evil. In summary, our young hero Simon, played by Michael Bingaman inherits a cat from his father’s will, much to the chagrin of his nasty Aunt Latitia (Jenny McNae). The magic kitty hatches a plan to help his master Simon to woo Cherry, played by Charlotte Devenport, the feisty daughter of our social climber dame Queenie Cupcake (Michael Loney) who is more interested in pairing her up with the old but rich lawyer Horace Grovel, played by Ian Toyne.
The web of deceit and misunderstanding is woven through song, dance and satire. There is even a very messy cooking lesson from the dame. The children took great pleasure in seeing her make a lovely mess with her two little volunteers from the audience.
And what would a panto be without plenty of opportunity for the kids to warn our heroes, “She’s behind you!” The set and costumes were bright and fun. A little “magic trick” with the lighting at the beginning, right through to the fart jokes at the end were touches to keep the kids engaged. The parents were kept on their toes with the local references thrown in. Politicians, suburbs and recent news items were included purely for the benefit of the adults. It was great to see that Senczuk and the actors updated their improvisations to keep it contemporary. For example, Dame Queenie Cupcake, with her ample bosom and buttocks informed us that she was testing the outfit for Rebecca Twigley who would be wearing it in her nuptials to Chris Judd next week.
Michael Loney gave a hilarious performance and was very quick on his feet, both metaphorically and physically, even in 3 inch heels. Playing a variety of roles, Ian Toyne was delightful as the story teller to open the show, right through to the vulgar property tycoon with a penchant for passing wind, Sir Daryl D’Ogre.
And, like all good children’s stories, it has a moral: “Be happy with what you have, work hard at what you are trying to accomplish and you will realise your ambitions.”
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA presents
Puss In Boots
by John Senczuk from the fairy tale by Charles Perrault
Directed by John Senczuk
Venue: The Playhouse, Perth
Dates: December 16 - 23, 2010
Times: 11am and 1pm daily with special evening performances available on Dec 16 and 23.
Bookings: BOCS 9484 113 www.bocsticketing.com.au