Matt Ramer in Sinbad!
photo: Emma Chan

Metro Theatre
Sinbad! (Pantomime) by Ellie King

When & Where December 7 – 30, 2023 at 7.30pm; matinee performances at 2pm Dec 10, 16, 17, 23, 26, 27, 30, 31, Jan 1 | Metro Theatre, 1370 S.W. Marine Drive, Vancouver

Director James T. Walker Musical Director Kerry O’Donovan Choreography Linzi Voth Costume Design Rene Schindel Set Design Rob Moser and Shel Piercy Lighting Design Keith S. Woods Set Design Rob Moser and Shel Piercy Props Design and Construction Heather Stewart Sound Effects Design Roger Monk Special Effects Rob Moser.Stage Manager Aleks Harrison

Reviewer Christian Steckler

Christmas is a time for family fun; and what better way for families to regale than to attend one of the several traditional English pantomimes performed around the city? Metro Theatre’s SINBAD! checks all the right boxes for an evening of madcap fun and interactive madness.

James T. Walker’s direction is superb, mindful of filling the stage with action and colour in all corners, and drawing lively and energetic performances from every member of the cast. Walker shines in his performance as the centralizing character, Vera Bad, drawing all the action into a cohesive story with witty commentary along the way.

The action follows the machinations of two magical characters, The Good Fairy (whimsically played by Chris McBeath) and The Old Man of the Sea, aka The Demon (mischievously portrayed by Matt Ramer). In a feud that has gone on for ages, The Demon tries to bring out the worst in people while The Good Fairy habitually succeeds in quashing his attempts. It is faith in this pattern that carries the audience, optimistically into the adventures of Sinbad and his brother, and a motley crew on their adventure in search of a treasure that will make them all rich.

Adrian Shaffer’s performance as Sinbad successfully portrays an energetic and sincere leader, prone to naivety; and Dimitrios Stephanoy’s portrayal as his brother, Justus Bad, is enthusiastic, acrobatic, and charming. Lauren Ridder, as Anne, Queen of the Pirates, is a convincing model villain, aided by The Demon, but frustrated by her two idiotic sidekicks, Flotsam and Jetsam, brilliantly played by Noah Whiting and Ivy Hawkley respectively. Sara Antonia Gargaro makes a praiseworthy princess, with just the right balance of entitlement and helplessness to bring out the best attempts at help, with hand-wringing anxiety, from her lady-in-waiting, Lady Finger, so well played by Christine Santa Maria. Ryan Hill plays a believably cool, calm, and positive Davey Jones, and Gillian Myer makes a convincing Bosun Binnacle, trying desperately to help organize an unruly crew in the midst of chaos. Rounding out the cast, Adam Manfredi, Tom Moody, Daniel Stewart, Hailey Fowler, Wesley Winfield and Olivia Ay all shine in highly impressive and energetic performances. The singing and dancing by the entire cast is magnificent in every scene.

The production team also shines. The lighting, sound, sets, special effects, and colourful costumes all bring a real polish to the show, and the music accentuates the mood throughout the evening.

SINBAD! is a hit! It is a brilliant example of traditional pantomime, drawing on enthusiastic audience participation, and full of lively action, hi-jinx, whimsy, wit and just plain fun! See it…and take the kids, or just the kid in you.

© 2023 Christian Steckler