Bad puns, men dressed as women and audience participation galore – not to mention silly songs and cries of, “He’s behind you.” It is all part of the British musical-comedy institution that is the Christmas panto, and it’s coming to town in the form of Snow White and the Beatles thanks to enterprising am-dram enthusiast Carrie Cordell Twine.
American Carrie is newly-arrived from Phnom Penh, where she was heavily involved in community theatre group the Phnom Penh Players. Being a drama teacher and English Literature graduate, she was keen to keep up the acting.
“After four years of doing that and really enjoying it, I decided I couldn’t live without it in Siem Reap,” she laughs.
Temple Town Theatre was born, Carrie figured a pantomime was just the thing required, and duly wrote one.
“I decided I really wanted to do a panto for Christmas. It’s so comical that it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. So that could be really fun and it doesn’t have to be really long. There are only really about 30 minutes of speaking and 25 minutes of singing. And everybody likes that fun comedy. It’s a really enjoyable, relaxing thing. People laugh at a man dressed up as an evil witch.”
And playing that evil witch is none other than ‘art-preneur’ and hotel-owner Loven Ramos, who is also helping out generally with ideas and putting newbie Carrie in touch with people.
Carrie says that although there was a lot of general interest, many Reapers were at first shy about acting. Luckily her powers of gentle persuasion came into play.
Characters in the cast include Snow White, Buttons, the prince, Angry Bird, and the four Beatles as dwarves – for this Carrie’s Anglo-Australian husband had to help her become familiar with some of the songs.
Rehearsals have just begun and writer-director-actor Carrie plans to put on three shows at Hotel 1961, on December 15 and 16, and a matinee on December 15.
Tickets will cost $10 with any profit going to Epic Arts, a Kampot-based charity supporting disabled youth through dance, drama and visual arts.
Interestingly, one of its trustees, Nadia Albina, a disabled British actress born with no right forearm, performed at this year’s Paralympics opening ceremony.
For more info, or if you are interested in helping out, please visit the Temple Town Theatre facebook page.