English pantomimes have an image problem. Mention the term to the average person, as I recently did, and you get two responses “What’s that?” or “You mean mimes?”
I didn’t know what one was either until Alan Bryce started producing them at Federal Way’s Centerstage Theatre several years ago.
First, let’s get that word, pantomime, out of the way. There is no miming or wild gesturing. This is a musical mash-up of fairytale, song, jokes, dancing and audience participation. You’re never quite sure if you’re watching a kids’ show or adult content. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Just check the “All of the above” box and enjoy it.
That’s what I did when I attended Centerstage’s latest pantomime, “Pinocchio,” now playing through Dec. 23. Directed by Vanessa Miller, it was a rollicking, fast paced farce centered around the Pinocchio tale.
There were plenty of kids in attendance but plenty of humor was geared for an adult audience. It’s a cliché, I know, but this is really a production the whole family can enjoy.
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