Laurie Jarvis

The making of Nelson’s pantomime

Laurie Jarvis wrote an directed this year's Christmas pantomime

Laurie Jarvis has seen a lot of pantomimes performed in Nelson.

The annual Christmas show has been a local tradition for 25 years and Jarvis has been a part of nearly all of them.

She got her start as an actor then, after several years doing that, she moved into the director’s chair. She doesn’t know exactly how many pantomimes she’s directed (“They all kind of blur together,” she says) but it’s safe to say it’s been at least a dozen.

It’s easier for Jarvis to tell you how many pantomimes she’s written: this year’s show first one she’s ever written one. She penned Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of Buskerville over the summer after searching unsuccessfully for a panto script based on the fictional London detective.

“Some years we buy the script and some years we find free ones written by other community theatre groups — whatever script we get, there’s always a lot of editing work to add in local references and current events,” Jarvis explains.

“I’ve read enough pantomimes to pick up on the format, so when I couldn’t find a script I liked, I figured it wouldn’t be too much extra trouble to just write one.”

The staple characters in every pantomime are the hero, the villain and the dame (a man dressed in women’s clothing). Jarvis says it was easy to find Sherlock Homes characters that fit the bill.

She wrote a skeleton of script then, in September after parts were cast, she left it to the small army of actors to expand on her work.

“A lot of what’s funny in the play are things the cast members came up with in rehearsals and we found a way to work in,” Jarvis says. “That’s the beauty of pantomime; they really just take on a life of their own. Even from opening night to closing night, someone might come up with something and we’ll just add it in.”

The humour aims to appeal to audiences of all ages, with a mix of innuendos for the adults to chuckle at and slap stick comedy to entertain the kids.

The actors, who all volunteer their time to be in the play, range in age and experience. Jarvis said there’s a lot of new faces in the cast this year and she hopes that will also bring out some new audience members.

“The idea is to come and watch your friends and family do silly things,” she said. “If people sitting in the audience like what they see, they should come to auditions next year and be a part of it.”

The pantomime is a fundraiser for the Capitol Theatre that helps fund its year-round operation.

Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of Buskerville runs November 29, 30 and December 1 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on December 1 and 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adult, $10 for student and senior, and $45  for a family of four. Buy online at capitoltheatre.bc.ca or phone 250-352-6363.

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs’ win marred by dangerous play

Nelson is undefeated through the first five games of the season

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Slocan seniors’ housing hosts grand opening Sept. 27

The society wants to give the public a glimpse before tenants move in and the weather changes.

LETTERS: Tom Fletcher analysis is as outdated as the Edsel

Dona grace-Campbell takes issue with columnist Tom Fletcher’s column on the carbon tax

VIDEO: Lydia Kania is here to skunk you

The Vallican track athlete has turned to cribbage in her senior years

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Most Read