Theater Review by Gail M. Burns
I am coining a new word – Pantoloonacy. The troupe who write and perform the annual British-American Pantos at the Ghent Playhouse style themselves the Panto-Loons, and therefore it is only proper that I spell my avid fandom for their annual efforts accordingly. This year they are presenting a mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Frog Prince titled SleepFrog, and while they have not succeeded in blending the two tales as brilliantly as when they magnificently merged The Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs in Menageries a Trois, their Loonacy shines through, and I hear the seats are selling out.
In case you still don’t know what a Panto is, it is a British holiday tradition where you take a familiar story, have everyone cross-dress, and proceed to merrily shred the plot while inserting a pile of topical humor and songs. Under British-born Judy Staber’s guidance, the Panto-Loons have made this artform (and I use the term “art” very loosely) the must-see of the season in Columbia County.
With a script that calls for six fairies (of the winged variety) and two frogs, costume designer Joanne Maurer, who also plays King Posterium, has once again turned out a pile of colorful, hilarious costumes that transform men and women into women and men and animals and supernatural beings of all shapes and sizes.