Somewhere in an alternative, non-pandemic universe, tonight is the opening night for the Gabriola Players production of The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno. We hope their production goes well. Meanwhile, here on planet pandemic, that particular opening night has been postponed until next May. Instead, on Throwback Thursday let us travel backwards to another opening night in November 2014.
There were a lot of firsts involved in the Gabriola Players pantomime that year.
To start with, we were staging the world premiere of Will Shakespeare the Panto, published earlier that year by British playwright Robin Bailes.
It is now the first of four pantos we’ve produced that were written by Bailes and directed by Miranda Holmes.
It marked the first appearance by Alex Dewar as a pantomime hero. (First Will Shakespeare, followed by Robin Hood in 2015 and again in The Return of Robin Hood in 2016.)
It was also the first appearance by Joe Di Cara as a pantomime villain – a role he was born to play. Indeed he has played the villain many times since, including last November in Ali Baba, our fourth Robin Bailes pantomime. (By now Bailes says he feels like an honorary Gabriolan.)
The show delighted audiences with its Monty Python moments (who will ever forget Paul O’Sullivan’s turn as the actor Alexander Cook?), a nod towards Black Adder with Nadine Mourao’s Bob, and stellar performances by Aleksandra Brzozowski as the heroine Rosie, Jenn Feenan as (Dancing) Queen Elizabeth and Lesley Hazeldine as Helena Handbasket, along with everyone else in the cast.
Click here to enjoy the memories!
Our thanks to Bill Pope for the photos and to Ray Appel for the editing.