On the eve of what the Mayans say will be the end of earth, Langley's Ellie King jokes about where she'll be. She's been joking on Facebook that she know's where she'll be, as does almost anyone who knows the local of queen of pantomime.
She'll be at the Surrey Arts Centre preparing for the curtain to go up on the first Royal Canadian Theatre Company's Christmas production of Robinson Crusoe.
Once again, King is the artistic director for the group's panto, and she's drawn in a number of Langley pirates to breathe life into what she vows will be a hilarious production opening tonight (Thursday, Dec. 20) and continues through Jan. 6.
Most of the Langley actors on stage are panto regulars, including Claurien Zanoria in the principal girl role as the beautiful Princess Friday, as well as Leia Roberds, Susanne Delisimunovic and her daughters Stefi and Marinna, along with Emily Wilson.
"Join Robinson Crusoe and his wacky family as they set sail in the SS Leaky Lucy for comical adventures on the high seas," said King, who's once again also turned this Christmas production a family affair.
She's joined behind the scenes by her husband Geoff - whom she said plays a "mean keyboard" - as musical director, and their son James - who prefers to be on stage and always plays the ultimate panto villain. He has taken the role as the Demon King.
"Meet the dreaded Captain Blight, Griselda the Gorilla, and the evil witch doctor. Cheer Robinson on as he battles the fire demon to save the beautiful Princess Friday. 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, and sing along with your favourite performers," said King.
"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," explained King.
And crafting pure British panto is a passion for King. "You are never too young for theatre when it comes to a panto," she reflected, "it's fun for the whole family."
She made her stage debut at age three, in a Christmas panto in Liverpool, England. Now, with more than 20 years of writing, producing, and directing pantos throughout Metro Vancouver, this British "dynamo" is responsible for creating vivid holiday memories and traditions for a whole generation of local audiences and performers.
Robinson Crusoe runs at the Surrey Arts Centre with performances at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20-22, Dec. 27-29, and Jan. 2-5. There will also be 3 p.m. matinee showings on Dec. 22, 23, 26, 29, 30, and Jan. 5, 6.
Tickets are $23.95/adults and $14.95/children in person at the Surrey Arts Centre box office, 13750 88th Ave., available by calling 604-501-5566, or online at tickets.surrey.ca.