An "insidious Britishness" is taking over the cast of Arrr! A Very British Panto as they get closer to the performance, which runs from Jan. 4-6.
Gareth Jones, founder of Deadgood LLC (the company producing the show), created the Panto along with director Ridley McIntyre. Jones describes it as a "supremely silly family show," perfect for young children to adults.
which is a beloved form of UK vaudeville-style musical comedy theater.
"If the shows are as much fun as the rehearsals, this is gonna be tremendous," said Jones. "We are super-lucky to have such a talented bunch of people, from the youngest of the kids right through to the leads. And all of them are enjoying it so much that it's completely infectious."
The show wasn't always set to be the pirate comedy it is. Jones explained many pantos are based on fairy tales, but the group feared an American audience might be expecting something "Disney-like." They decided to write an original show, and the Pirate Panto was born.
"We are blessed with a wonderful team," said Jones. "We've been working hard recently on set, props, publicity, the program and just about everything else. We have a large number of inflatable bananas, we have skeletons, we have a giant spider, we have all sorts of odd but necessary things."
Profits from the performance will go to Heifer, which fights hunger and poverty worldwide; Rent Party, fighting hunger locally; and the Jersey Animal Coalition, to give local animals a better life.
"As I said on my Facebook page, it's amazing the conversations that pass as normal when you're preparing a panto," said Jones. "The other day [my wife] Liz said to me, with a perfectly straight face, 'You can never have too many inflatable bananas!'"
The performance will take place at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood Village, and begin at 7 p.m. Children 4 years and younger are free but their tickets must be booked in advance, and kids ages 5-14 are $12. Adults are $20. Anybody under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (a good excuse to see the show yourself).
At the show will be ice cream from Lickt Gelato, as well as baked goods, t-shirts available for purchase and an auction.
Said Jones, "Truly, you should all come and see the show. You'll laugh harder than a hyena on laughing gas!"