Humourous and heart-warming panto takes stage at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse

The St. Jacobs Country Playhouse brings its 2014 season to a close with a fun-filled version of the fairy tale Snow White in the British panto tradition.

Theatregoers young and old are encouraged to cheer the heroine and boo the villain in this interactive family classic. Snow White: The Panto is on stage now through Dec. 21.

“Snow White is a timeless story that appeals to every generation,” says artistic director Alex Mustakas. “Bring your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to the theatre and make some memories with the entire family this holiday season.”

Director David Connolly delivers a funny and fast-paced production full of witty humour and heart, say Drayton representatives.

Choreographer Gino Berti has created dance numbers that make even the grumpiest dwarf want to dance along.

Music director Charlene Nafziger leads a five-piece orchestra through comedy songs and a well-crafted musical score.

Jean-Claude Olivier has designed a set with a wishing well and stunning backdrops, all enhanced by Simon Day’slighting design.

Costume designer Rachel Berchtold has created extravagant costumes full of vibrant colours, cheery patterns and lots of glitz and glamour.

From the Queen’s gowns to Nurse Tickle’s outrageous outfits, the lavish costumes capture the essence of each character right down to the adorable forest animals.

As the leading lady in this story, Julia McLellan is wide-eyed and winsome as Snow White.

McLellan recently impressed audiences and critics alike as Ariel Moore in the sold-out production of Footloose at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse. Her marvellous singing voice and joyful energy make her ideally suited to the role of the sweet princess.

Jamie McKnight, who recently finished the National Tour and Toronto productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz, takes on the role of Prince Justin. McKnight is equal parts charming and funny with all the right moves. As a former member of The Canadian Tenors, his voice is also a standout throughout the production.

Drayton Entertainment favourite Jackie Mustakas is well cast as the wonderfully wicked Queen Diabolica, who is envious of Snow White’s youth and beauty. Mustakas captures the true spirit of the villainous Queen commanding the stage with every furrow of her deftly tweezed eyebrows, inciting a cacophony of “boos” from the adoring audience.

Tim Porter is appropriately bumbling as the Queen’s goofy woodsman, Woody.

A panto wouldn’t be complete without the dame and this production is no exception – Christopher Wilson is outrageous as Nurse Tickle.

Wilson’s lavish costumes and his physical humour elicits laughs at every turn.

Jennifer Burke is delightfully sassy in her dual role as the Magic Mirror and the Blues Fairy.

Stephan Dickson gives a charismatic performance as Doc, the leader of the dwarves, while Andrew Scanlon is short-tempered but endearing as Grumpy. In his Drayton Entertainment debut, Sam DiGiuseppe is silly and sweet as the dwarf Dopey. Ashley Arnett, Jason Franco, Caitlin Goguen, Sarah Matton and Kyla Musselman round out the ensemble cast, which also features 42 local children who perform on a rotating schedule in three groups throughout the run. Jason Franco is the children’s chorus rehearsal director.

“Pantos are a Christmas tradition and I couldn’t think of a better show to end this exceptional season in St. Jacobs,” says Mustakas. “We are thrilled with the response to Snow White: The Panto.

“Sales are soaring with tickets already over 85 per cent sold out – I encourage families to plan ahead and buy tickets now.”

Snow White: The Panto is written by Caroline Smith, with orchestrations and arrangements by Steve Thomas and Mike McClennan. Tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for youth under 20. Tickets for groups of 20 or more are $34.

Snow White: The Panto is on stage now through Dec. 21.

Tickets are on sale and can be conveniently purchased from any computer or mobile device by visiting, in person at the box office or by calling 519-747-7788 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).