If you were driving over the big orange bridge Sunday morning, there’s a chance you might have witnessed the arrival of a feisty Spanish feline named Puss in Boots, who showed up in Nelson just in time for Thursday’s opening of the 28th annual Capitol Theatre pantomime.
“I’m here for a bit of Christmas fun,” Boots told the Star, after being picked up hitchhiking by the Welcome to Nelson sign. “I hear there are many attractive gatos, so I wanted to come by and check out the scene and the señoritas.”
The annual extravaganza, which will feature community members of all ages in the cast, tells the story of Colin, Boots’ friend who is struggling with affordable housing and can’t find a place to live. Boots sets out on a quest to transform his struggling friend into “The Marquis De Cannabas”, an approach that differs radically that the one used recently during the Room to Live charity concert for Ward St. Place.
“In order to move up in the ranks of the world you must lie, cheat and steal,” Boots said. “But you can do this in a way that’s still pretty nice. You don’t have to hurt people, you just slightly take advantage of them.”
He will teach his friend how to do exactly that.
“We must create a facade and convince everyone he is this person, so everything will be successful for him.”
Boots is especially excited to share the stage with Bronwen Bird, who will play Señorita Applesauce.
“You never know who I might meet while I’m putting this plan into action,” he said. “But my heart belongs to her.”
Boots was dismissive of past versions of Puss in Boots, including Antonio Banderas’ turn in the Shrek movies. He says they’re all poor versions of the real thing.
“I am the real Puss in Boots. I would say I’m a gato that likes adventure and fun. I have some very good dance moves I can share with you. And I’m mysterious and handsome, of course.”
Boots, whose alter ego is Liesl Forst, considers it his quest to raise funds for the Capitol Theatre, and he will heroically fight towards that end.
This year’s pantomime is directed by Jeff Forst, with musical direction by Darren Fuss, choreography by Danielle Gibson and costumes by Kyla Hurst.
Puss in Boots opens at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. It will also go up Friday and Saturday at the same time. There will be matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“There will be much romance and dancing and singing, plus you get to cheer for me — which is fabulous,” said Boots. “Many, many people are coming to help me tell the wonderful tale of me.”
What putting on the Panto takes:
• A cast of 55
• Eight set painters
• Five costumers
• Four props people
• Forty front-of-house volunteers
• Students from Selkirk College for hair and make-up
• The Capitol Theatre’s staff and crew