Entertainment

Follow Friday, and the rest of the Robinson Crusoe cast

Back row, from left: James King as the Demon King; Stefi Delisimunovic; Marinna Delisimunovic; centre row: Emily Wilson, Susanne Delisimunovic; front row: Claurien Zanoria as Princess Friday and Leia Roberds.  - Stacey SHERBACK/submitted photo
Back row, from left: James King as the Demon King; Stefi Delisimunovic; Marinna Delisimunovic; centre row: Emily Wilson, Susanne Delisimunovic; front row: Claurien Zanoria as Princess Friday and Leia Roberds.
— image credit: Stacey SHERBACK/submitted photo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But it can also be the most stressful.

This December, why not take a break from the seemingly endless search for that ideal (but elusive) gift? Never mind trying to perfect your already mind-blowing cranberry sauce.

And instead of fretting over the turkey, why not duck out and enjoy a few belly laughs?

Luckily, nobody serves up more guffaws at Christmastime than Ellie King, Langley’s Queen of Panto.

This year, King’s traditional British pantomime — running from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6 at the Surrey Arts Centre — is a humorous take on the childhood classic, Robinson Crusoe.

Join the title character and his wacky family as they set sail in the SS Leaky Lucy for comical adventures on the high seas.

Meet the dreaded Captain Blight, Griselda the Gorilla and the evil Witchdoctor. Cheer on Robinson as he battles the Fire Demon to save the beautiful Princess Friday, played by Langley’s Claurien Zanoria.

Marvel at the volcano and laugh at jokes your grandfather thought were old.

Music, merriment, mayhem and magic complete your holiday season as you cheer the good guys, boo the bad guys and sing along with your favourite performers.

For King, panto is a family affair. Her husband Geoff, who plays a mean keyboard, is the musical director, while son James plays the ultimate panto villain — the deliciously evil Demon King.

Other Langley residents joining the Kings on stage are Leia Roberds, Susanne Delisimunovic and daughters Stefi and Marinna, along with Emily Wilson.

“Panto” is a time-honoured genre of British musical comedy theatre that puts a boisterous spin on familiar childhood stories, infusing them with a generous helping of comic antics, topical jokes, toe tapping music, outrageously zany characters and loads of opportunities for the audience to get involved and join the fun.

Crafting pure British Panto is a passion for King,  Royal Canadian Theatre’s artistic director, who made her own stage debut at three.

“You are never too young for theatre when it comes to a panto,” she said.

Robinson Crusoe runs at the Surrey Arts Centre with evening performances Dec. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and Jan. 2, 3, 4 and 5, at 7 p.m. Matinee performances Dec. 22, 23, 26, 29, 30 and Jan. 5, 6, at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $23.95 adults and $14.95 children (all tickets subject to a $2.75 box office fee).

Available at the Surrey Arts Centre Box Office, 13750 88 Ave., by phone at 604-501-5566 or online.

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