Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Imaginary Beasts Presents "Winter Panto 2018 - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" - At Charlestown Working Theater

There are several things that we Bostonians can rely on to get us through the bleak midwinter days of January and February. There is the Patriots perennial striving to reach the Super Bowl. There are the resurgent Celtics and Bruins making a trip to TD Garden a worthwhile adventure. There is clam chowder at Union Oyster House, Durgin Park, or Legal Seafood. There is skating on the Frog Pond at Boston Common or the ice at Government Center. And there is the annual Imaginary Beasts Winter Panto. This year, they have decamped from their old home at Boston Center for the Arts and have set up shop at the Charlestown Working Theater. This new home gives them a bit more elbow room, and they use the added space wisely in the current production: "Winter Panto 2018 - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea."

As you may be aware, pantomime or panto is a fondly held British tradition that takes stock characters, and employs them in melodramatic fashion that involves audience participation - booing villains, cheering on heroes, warning of danger lurking in the background. Imaginary Beasts has adopted and adapted this tradition for Boston audiences, and a growing number of people look forward to each year's version.

This winter's tale is loosely based on Jules Verne's classic tale of Captain Nemo and his submarine. Director Matthew Woods has crafted a story outline, and the vivid imagination of the ensemble have colored inside and outside the lines of his sketch.The result is a wild and fun ride for audience members of all ages. The silliness entertains the young, and the sophisticated humor and political allusions keep the adults intellectually engaged. There is some wonderful use of classic songs to keep the action moving.

Costume Dsign is by Cotton Talbot-Minkin, Lighting Design by Christopher Bocchiaro, Set and Sound Design by Matthew Woods, Set Design by Rebecca Lehrhoff, Puppet Design by Sophia Giordano and Rebecca Lehrhoff.

Inhabiting the wonderful Steam Punk world is a gifted, uninhibited, and energetic troupe of actors:
  • Matthew Woods is Jules, the narrator for this nautical voyage
  • Rebecca Lehrhoff is The Good Coral Nymph
  • Sarah Gazdowicz is Demon Queen Blanche
  • Kim Klasner is Yves, the fisher lad
  • Amy Meyer is Felicia, the fishwife
  • Molly Kimmerling is Salty the cat
  • Michael Underhill is Constable Crabbe
  • Kiki Samko is The Old Salt Dog and Captain Nemo
  • Jennife Taschereau is The Commander and The Octopus
  • Bob Mussett is Ned Land
  • William Schuller is Professor Aronnax
  • Jamie Semel is Constanze
  • Noah Simes is the unforgettable Zsa Zsa Faux Pas, n'est-ce pas?
Michael Underhill as Constable Crabbe - Cramming to memorize the Miranda Rights
Imaginary Beasts Winter Panto 2018
"20,000 Leagues Under The Sea"
Charlestown Working Theater
Through February 4th

The bottom line is that this is a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging day or evening at the theater - one of my favorite Pantos ever, and I have enjoyed them all. So, bring yourself, your spouse or significant other, your children and grandchildren, your superannuated great aunt Mabel, or the fishmonger living next door. This show comes with two thumbs up - well, two White Rhino hooves up!

William Schuller as Professor Aronnax, Kiki Samko as Captain Nemo, 
Bob Mussett as Ned Land
Imaginary Beasts Winter Panto 2018
"20,000 Leagues Under The Sea"
Charlestown Working Theater
Through February 4th
Photo by Andrew Wang

Why, you may ask, should I journey to Charlestown to see this show? I am glad you asked. Here are just a few of the reasons:
  • The cutest octopus who ever wrapped her tentacles around an audience's heart.
  • The crabbiest constable who ever walked a beat.
  • The saltiest Old Sea Dog who ever limped upon the deck of a ship
  • A remote control mechanical mouse used as a tool for espionage
  • A despicable evil Demon Queen
  • Her nemesis, the Good Coral Nymph
  • And the unforgettable Zsa Zsa - Oo-La-La! 
When you go, give Zsa Zsa a hug for me. She will not consider it a faux pas!
Some performances are sold out, so do not wait too long and earn a "Boo - Hiss - Boo"! Get your tickets now.

Imaginary Beasts Website

Friday, Jan 19 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jan 20 at 1:30 PM & 4:30 PM
Sunday, Jan 21 at 2 PM
Friday, Jan 26 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jan 27 at 1:30 PM & 4:30 PM
Sunday, Jan 28 at 2 PM
Monday, Jan 29 at 7:30 PM | INDUSTRY NIGHT
Friday, Feb 2 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, Feb 3 at 1:30 PM & 4:30 PM
Sunday, Feb 4 at 2 PM



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