THEATER REVIEW: “The Turn of the Scrooge” @ the Ghent Playhouse [Berkshire on Stage]
Theater review by Gail M. Burns
I am happy to report that the PantoLoons have once again taken the stage at the Ghent Playhouse for the annual Panto – this year a take-off on the much beloved and done-to-death Dickens tale A Christmas Carol in an opus they call The Turn of the Scrooge.
What is a Panto? Well, it is a British theatrical tradition for the holiday season. Basically, you take a familiar fairy tale or folk tale, have all the men play the women and the women play the men, add lots of new and (hopefully) witty lyrics to well-known tunes, and ignore the plot completely. There is lots of audience interaction – you get to boo the villians and sing along a bit and shout “He’s right behind you!” and such. Only the most conservative and humorless of folks can fail to be amused by the good old-fashioned schtick.
In Columbia County this tradition was started in 2000 by British-born Judy Staber. Staber has now stepped aside, but a continuing corps of like-minded Loons gather to pen and perform a new and original Panto every year. This year Cathy Lee-Visscher takes the reins as the director.