A storybook performance comes to 100 Mile House

Neil VanderHorst stars as the Emperor in the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s new pantomime, the Emperor’s New Clothes. The play premiered at Martin Exeter Hall on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.Neil VanderHorst stars as the Emperor in the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s new pantomime, the Emperor’s New Clothes. The play premiered at Martin Exeter Hall on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Glen Tanner takes on the persona of Dame Donothing for the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Glen Tanner takes on the persona of Dame Donothing for the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Emperor, played by Neil VanderHorst, meets with his wife the Empress, Karen Smith, and Dame Donothing, Glen Tanner, during the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The Emperor, played by Neil VanderHorst, meets with his wife the Empress, Karen Smith, and Dame Donothing, Glen Tanner, during the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The cast of the Emperor’s New Clothes looks away as Dame Do Nothing, Glen Tanner, flashes her bloomers to the audience. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The cast of the Emperor’s New Clothes looks away as Dame Do Nothing, Glen Tanner, flashes her bloomers to the audience. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Princess Caroline, Katharina Wetzig, expresses her love for Prince Charming Junior. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Princess Caroline, Katharina Wetzig, expresses her love for Prince Charming Junior. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Glen Tanner takes on the persona of Dame Donothing for the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Glen Tanner takes on the persona of Dame Donothing for the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Brayden Herperger’s Tom whispers to Shelly Carrera’s Fairy Lights during a performance of the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Brayden Herperger’s Tom whispers to Shelly Carrera’s Fairy Lights during a performance of the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Brayden Herperger (left), Matisse Alfaro and Shelly Carrera act in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Brayden Herperger (left), Matisse Alfaro and Shelly Carrera act in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dawn Sims-Gregorich is the villain of the Emperor’s New Clothes, playing the Emperor’s evil sister, the Duchess. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dawn Sims-Gregorich is the villain of the Emperor’s New Clothes, playing the Emperor’s evil sister, the Duchess. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Norder, played by Jodie Dodd, jabs at the audience with her banner during a performance of the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Norder, played by Jodie Dodd, jabs at the audience with her banner during a performance of the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lor and Norder, Dave Evenson and Jodie Dodd, confer together on stage. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lor and Norder, Dave Evenson and Jodie Dodd, confer together on stage. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Olivia Schaff strikes a pose while performing in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Olivia Schaff strikes a pose while performing in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Rachel Shaw flexes for the audience during the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Rachel Shaw flexes for the audience during the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Neil VanderHorst stars as the Emperor in the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s new pantomime, the Emperor’s New Clothes. The play premiered at Martin Exeter Hall on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.Neil VanderHorst stars as the Emperor in the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s new pantomime, the Emperor’s New Clothes. The play premiered at Martin Exeter Hall on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
The set of the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The set of the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society’s Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Olivia Schaff as a member of the chorus in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Olivia Schaff as a member of the chorus in the Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dame Donothing, Glen Tanner, answers some hard questions from Lor and Norder, Dave Evenson and Jodie Dodd. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dame Donothing, Glen Tanner, answers some hard questions from Lor and Norder, Dave Evenson and Jodie Dodd. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Jodie Dodd’s Norder holds up a sign calculating just how much work Dame Donothing does in a year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Jodie Dodd’s Norder holds up a sign calculating just how much work Dame Donothing does in a year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Matisse Alfaro stars as Prince Charming Junior in The Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Matisse Alfaro stars as Prince Charming Junior in The Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Becca VanderHorst’s Emily and Katharina Wetzig’s Princess Caroline dress in masks for the grand finale of The Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Becca VanderHorst’s Emily and Katharina Wetzig’s Princess Caroline dress in masks for the grand finale of The Emperor’s New Clothes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The 100 Mile Performing Arts Society has found its groove with its rendition of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

After close to three years with no live theatre in 100 Mile House, the society is returning with a heartfelt, goofy and engaging pantomime. While a little rough around the edges in some places, the storybook atmosphere and cheeky sense of humour make for an entertaining night out with friends and family.

Emperor follows the pattern of the classic fairy tale of the same name, only with a few added plot elements. In addition to the titular Emperor conned into donning an invisible suit — this time by his scheming sister the Duchess — the pantomime tells the story of the Emperor’s young daughter Caroline finding love in the arms of Prince Charming Junior, and the eccentric Dame Donothing attempting to plan a grand parade.

From the opening curtain, the cast and crew of Emperor transport their audience into a fantasy storybook land. The sets, while simplistic, are bursting with pastoral colour and charm, much to the credit of set manager Delta Pinkston’s crew. There are even a few covert references to 100 Mile House hidden away.

Early on, Neil VanderHorst establishes himself as a lovable, if gullible, ruler in his role as the Emperor. He brings an enthusiastic geniality that excellently sets the mood and atmosphere. The Empress, brought to life by Karen Smith, balances out the Emperor’s more flamboyant energy with a calm and kind presence on stage.

Working behind the scenes to sabotage the Emperor’s idyllic life is his sister the Countess, played by Dawn Sims-Gregorich. She embraces her role as the detested villain and has perfected a perpetual sneer of disgust.

Seeking to bring her, or anyone really, to justice are the lovable but bumbling guards Lor and Norder. Dave Evenson and Jodie Dodd have delightful chemistry on stage and never fail to raise the mood of a scene whenever they parade onto the stage, banners in hand.

On the younger side of the cast, Matisse Alfaro (Prince Charming Junior) and Katharina Wetzig (Princess Caroline) have a delightful and earnest romance. Their companions — Brayden Herperger’s Tom and Becca VanderHorst’s Emily — provide welcome foils to their lovestruck friends, with Herperger especially showing a talent for dry comedic timing.

The standout performance of the main cast, however, was Glen Tanner’s Dame Donothing. Tanner commits 110 per cent to his role as a flighty, past-her-prime housewife who nonetheless has the confidence of a runway model. He’s a delight to watch whenever he takes to the stage, and his surprisingly melodious singing voice was a showstopper for the audience.

The transformation of Tanner and the rest of the cast into their characters was helped immeasurably by costumer Shelley Carrera and makeup artists Jodi Dodd and Nicki Jackson. All three matched the storybook quality of the set, creating a tonally cohesive and colourful production.

How much you participate in the play will drastically affect how much you enjoy it. Much like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, half the fun comes from following the rules, which are as follows: always cheer the hero, always boo the villains, always win the argument, and always warn the heroes of danger.

Throughout the show the actors will talk and interact with the audience, bringing a playful spontaneity to the proceedings.

The Emperor’s New Clothes runs for two weeks at Martin Exeter Hall, with tickets available at the door or at Didi’s Boutique or Donex Pharmacy and Department Store. The show runs Dec. 1 to 3 and Dec. 8 to 10 at 7 p.m., with matinee shows at 1 p.m. on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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