Mommy, What's a Botox?

I don't turn down free tickets to plays. So when a pal I hadn't seen in a while told me he had an extra ticket for a Panto at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, I didn't even bother asking what we were going to see, nor did I go sifting through my old theatre textbooks to remember what exactly a Pantomime is. Though for your benefit, please enjoy the Wikipedia link above. Long story short though, expect a guy in drag, encouraged audience interactions, songs and a story filled with archetypes and gags you can easily relate to - how much material did they get off the Ford saga alone...

Imagine my surprise when I walked into what is probably one of the most beautiful theatres ever, surrounded by roving bands of children, and realized I was about to see "that Snow White show" I kept seeing posters for in the subway. Since my roommate and I are on this huge Once Upon a Time kick and I've always loved stories that mix-and-match all the fairy-tale characters I grew up with, I think I become more excited than the kids. Which is as it should be since most of the bawdy references in this show would go way over the heads of the pint-size crew in the audience anyway ("Mommy, why is Pinocchio's hard wood funny?")

Listen, I don't know who Ross Petty is, but after 17 years of putting on these shows - shows that apparently repeat themselves every couple of years because frankly, how many fairy tales out there can you really mess with? - they are an annual tradition in Toronto. And I can totally see why: the cast is obviously having a stupid good time up there and so was I.

Plot-wise, don't expect too much. Sure, you've got your Snowy White, your wicked Queen & your handsome, charming love interest who practically has a sparkle glued to his tooth every time that he smiles. But the 7 dwarves have been replaced by one 007 (because Petty unabashedly cashes in on every current pop culture trope he can put his hands on and it's cheaper hiring one actor instead of seven) and the evil Queen wants to strip mine the Enchanted Forest so she can horde all the Botox in the world and be the fairest of them all forever. Oh and our heroes try to save the realm through a beauty contest while a Don Cherry pig colour commentates and Red Ridding Hood yearns to be a Bond Girl...

Ok, so you kind of have to be there.

Seriously, you should be there. I haven't even scratched the surface of the cheesy good time you're going to have. I'd seriously consider going back just to see how a different audience reacts and how the cast plays off of them.

Special shout-out to my friend Bryn, who I had no idea was playing Red Riding Hood, and had one of the most adorable entrances on stage I've ever seen.