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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Debut Christmas pantomime a smash hit

Debut Christmas pantomime a smash hit

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The Evil Queen cops a pie in the face as the kids get ready to start throwing stuff. Photograph: Miranda Glasser

Siem Reap’s first ever Christmas pantomime, Snow White and the Beatles, was a sellout success at Hotel 1961 last weekend, with over 200 tickets sold for three performances and $600 raised for disabled arts charity, Epic Arts.

The largely expat audience, plus a few locals, got right into the swing of it, joining in with the audience participation.  But things nearly turned violent during the Saturday matinee when children in the audience threw empty bottles, cans and crisp packets at the Evil Queen, played by 1961 hotelier Loven Ramos – surely a tribute to his conviction in the role? Perhaps no one had explained to the kids the rules of panto: shouting and booing the panto villain, good. Launching missiles at the actors and clambering up onto the stage: not so good.

Nonetheless, a good time was had by all and even a power-cut halfway through Saturday’s finale did nothing to dampen people’s spirits. Ironically it occurred as the ‘Beatles’ were midway through the song We Can Work It Out. But the audience enjoyed what became an acapella number, even joining in in support, and helpfully waving their mobile phone torches around in an attempt to light the darkened stage.

Playwright and director Carrie Twine admits this was every director’s worst nightmare.  “I was so panicked. The Beatles just kept singing. My mind was racing trying to come up with a viable solution, and then 10 minutes later the power returned. I was so relieved.”

Twine said she was delighted with the shows and praised the hard work of the cast members, some of whom doubled up as stage hands.  

“Everyone really pulled together to make this work. Richard Halliday, Hugh Ahn, Alberto Cremonesi, and Loven really slaved over those sets to get them finished. But it looked wonderful. It really far exceeded my expectations. We are so lucky to have been working with such dedicated people.”

She added that after such a warm reception, Temple Town Theatre was sure to be back in 2013.

“There will be more productions from Temple Town Theatre in the future. There will definitely be another panto next Christmas. I'm also looking at a May production.  I've been trying to find a light comedy script that we could do with a smaller cast. So keep your eyes peeled for audition announcements from around the end of January.”

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