Like many responsible Comox Valley fathers, Mike White thought that this Christmas he’d spend as much time as possible with his wife Karae and offspring Jayden and MacKye.
Little did he know that his devotion to family would put him in the doghouse — literally.
The Whites are part of the cast of Courtenay Little Theatre’s Christmas pantomime The Magic Tinderbox, which will play at the Sid Williams Theatre from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve. Mike, much to his surprise, has been cast as a magic, wish-granting dog.
While White family members have been involved in previous productions with Courtenay Little Theatre, Rainbow Youth Theatre, and TheatreWorks, this is the first show in which all four of the family will perform together.
Daughter Jayden (as Dotty) and son MacKye (as Guard Hym) were given featured roles, while Mike and Karae were cast as Citizens in the ensemble.
However, in her search for a suitable canine, a key character in The Magic Tinderbox, director Alana Gowdy decided to give Mike a boost into the important role.
“I needed a very large dog and Mike fit the bill,” she beams. “I promised him a custom-designed costume, which Val Heath is now building specially for him. I think he’ll do a great job!”
Mike will do double duty, slipping out of the voluminous dog costume to play a citizen as well.
Other families involved in the panto include Michelle Sinclair as the dominating queen, while her daughter, Laura, is a citizen. Siblings Zach, as Guard Hoo, and Jessica Wood, a citizen, are part of the onstage frivolities while their mother, Krista, helps backstage with makeup.
Teresa Coates keeps busy sewing costumes for the guards, while her son James plays our fine hero Hans.
Loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, Peter Bond’s pantomime version of The Magic Tinderbox has family entertainment at its heart. And this is something which CLT has certainly achieved with its wonderful cast.
The show features a multi-generational cast of actors and singers, all focused on giving the gift of entertainment to families over the holidays.
As Karae White observes, “I can’t think of a better way to spend our Christmas holiday as a family than with all the great people we’ve got to know in this show, giving a gift of fun and laughter to Comox Valley audiences.”
As always in a traditional pantomime, the audience will be given opportunities to sing out loud, to cheer the heroes and to boo the villain. While most pantomimes feature a dame, a male playing a female lead for comic effect, this panto has two!
Would-be cook Mrs. Duckling is played by Derek MacDonell, while Keith Dessler is the more villainous Nausea. Their invariably ineffective king, another stock character, is performed by Roger Goodman.
The chorus of citizens have ages spanning eight decades, but they all bring their crazy characters to life with energy and talent.
Tickets are on sale now at the Sid Williams Theatre ticket centre at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com or 250-338-2430 ext. 1.
Shows start on Boxing Day with a 2 p.m. matinee and continue nightly at 7:30 from Dec. 27 to 31 with a special New Year’s celebration on the final night. There is a second matinee Dec. 30 at 2.
— Courtenay Little Theatre