LIVE: The PantoLoons: “Menagerie à Trois” @ The Ghent Playhouse [GailSez]

Mayoral candidate Oscar Weiner (Cathy Lee-Visscher) and his brother Wilbur (Sally McCarthy) are incensed when they see what Papa Bear has done to Oscar's hydrofracking equipment in "Menagerie à Trois." (photo: Dan Region, Blue Mesa)

Mayoral candidate Oscar Weiner (Cathy Lee-Visscher) and his brother Wilbur (Sally McCarthy) are incensed when they see what Papa Bear has done to Oscar's hydrofracking equipment in "Menagerie à Trois." (photo: Dan Region, Blue Mesa)

Pigs and wolves and bears, oh my! Must be Panto time!

The PantoLoons 12th annual British American Panto, Menagerie à Trois, is a melange of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, with a soupçon of Romeo and Juliet and its 20th century clone, West Side Story, thrown in. Its an all-new cross-species love story by Judy Staber and the Loons, with Mother Nature (musical director Paul Leyden) presiding at the piano, and its FABULOUS!

Of course, I never met a Panto I didn’t like, but this year’s edition is the best yet musically. Most of the cast can really sing, and they have selected songs to spoof which fit their vocal ranges and personalities. The lyrics are very clever, and it is nice to see that long-time Loon Ron Harrington, sadly missing from the stage this year, has had a hand in creating them.

Joanne Maurer has also outdone herself in the costume department, with the bears and pigs decked out to ursine and porcine perfection. Maurer herself plays Fryer Duck (you can’t have a Romeo and Juliet spoof without a kindly man of the cloth to mix up the lovers’ messages, you know), with a splendid waddle on webbed feet and tail-feathers protruding from the rear of her monk’s robe. Walter Bauer as Wolf Bilkser aka The Big Bad Wolf is nattily turned out in dove-gray top hat and tails – that would be three tails, two on the suit coat and one on his butt. Believe it or not Goldilocks (Mark “Monk” Schane-Lydon), the lone human character in the show, is positively restrained in her attire, sporting a simple frock in buttercup yellow and a demure pair of black mary-janes.

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