‘Fairytale of Sorts…’ is an adult pantomime from WA playwright Johnny Grim. This is yet another fun-filled madcap production from ‘A lad in sane’, it is showing in the comfortable theatre in the Midland Junction Arts Centre, 276 Great Eastern Highway in Midland nightly at 8.00 pm until Saturday 27th October, there are Sunday matinees at 5.00 pm on October 21st and 28th.
It is medieval times in Partridgedale and on the small village green, a travelling, short story teller (Johnny Grim) has just arrived. The local peasants have gathered ready to hear his tales. Unfortunately, he has nothing new, just the same old Potter adventures. The locals led by Willard (Maddison Byrne) and Kirby (Kathleen Alloway) demand that he writes them a new and exciting story containing all of their favourite themes … and he has quarter of an hour to complete the task.
We jump forward an hour or two, to King Percival’s (Adam Salathiel) throne room. His grovelling, personal secretary, Brown Nose (Dayle Rasmussen) is controlling the child labour; making two urchins (Dylan Grimshaw, Bailey Moyle) polish the throne in preparation for the King’s regal hearings. The first is a poor peasant (Peter Boylen) that owes money; he is quickly shown the error of his ways by the two guards (Jeff Hansen, Kelly van Geest).
The news arrives that the King’s beautiful Queen Arabella (Samantha Gill) has given birth to yet another daughter! Still no heir. The King decides to get a new wife, Bodicea, stealing her from the swashbuckling Prince Rylan 1st (Stuart Porter - wonderful dry humour). The King’s ‘ear in the community’, Rumple (Willy Smeets), who is reminiscent of a famous TV character, has some earth shattering news for the King.
The distraught Prince and his best friend Kylie (Frankie Bunce) decide to rescue Bodicea from the clutches of the cruel King. With the assistance of the Queen’s chambermaid, Emma (Cally Zanik) and the old faithfully family retainer, Archie (Graeme Cross)m they decide that they need a real leader of men, perhaps the applicant to become a new knight of the Round Table, Quentin (Kallum Mansfield) will be the answer to their prayers.
Johnny has to be admired as he self funds all of his shows, producing one or two per year. He is one of the few directors generous enough to give a ‘first chance’ to keen raw actors, and to his credit, a few have gone on to greater things. Once again his theatre virgins have done him proud. I saw the show on the opening night and so there were a few first night nerves and fluffs, but within a few minutes they had gone and one or two of his recruits were showing fine comedic skills.
Willy Smeets brought a great deal of mirth to the first Act, and Kallum Mansfield’s wonderful characterisation of Quentin had the audience in uproar in the second. The whole cast worked hard, and with all of Johnny’s shows, the enthusiasm on the actors’ faces rubs off on the audience.
The opening scene was verbose and slightly bombastic; it could have been cut to give a snappier start to the fun. Soon the politically incorrect script was bringing the house down. In the first Act the entrances and exits were a little slow; one doesn’t need to wait until the stage is cleared before the story teller returns to the spotlight. Perhaps the lighting operator, Sean Ashton could help them by pre-empting an entrance. Sean’s lighting and sound design – especially his special sound effects - gave plenty of life and depth to the scenes.
The makeup (Sinéad Bevan) and the costumes (Barbara Walton, Marjorie DeCaux, Michael Hart) were exceptional. The show was slickly staged managed by Jodie Hansen.
This pantomime is in the style of ‘Mrs Brown and her Boys’, so if you enjoy that rough, semi-crude TV humour, then you will love this. With tickets at only $15, truly a bargain laugh. Two hours of great fun.
Applications are open for His Majesty’s Theatre’s popular, exciting and interactive youth theatre workshop programme MajKidz 2013.