Pantomime ‘trash and ready’
In a break from the usual Boxing Day curtain-raising tradition, the 2023 pantomime will shout “action” on Saturday, April 1 with Trash and Hype.
“Coming out of COVID has been challenging, which meant we were not able to stick with the usual physical December 26 opening,” but we still marked the date with “Long Bench — a virtual tribute production recognising some of our stalwarts”, said Anya Gloudon, production coordinator and director of the newly formed entity The Pantomime Company.
“We feel it is important to keep the tradition going. We’ve done some reorganising and The Pantomime Company is now an official theatrical production house dedicated to keeping the pantomime form alive.”
Kevin Halstead, who is well-known to pantomime audiences, added: “We’re brand-new but drawing on years of experience. The cast of Trash and Hype has pantomime regulars like myself and Ray Jarrett, and Grub Cooper is on board with the music. We have a fresh approach with Brian Johnson directing a work that is based on the late Barbara Gloudon’s 1983 pantomime Trash, which we have updated with input from our script development team. We’ve been working really hard and we’re excited to hit the stage.”
Playbill notes indicate Trash and Hype is a mix of old and new. In the 1980s “trash and ready” was a slang used to describe someone who was well-dressed, turning the conventional definition on its head. The 2023 musical is set in an urban community which is changing — much to the distress of Mass Ezra (Kevin Halstead). At one end of the road is a call centre run by King Nuff (Ray Jarrett) and his daughter Princess Champagne (Marguerite Anderson), who is obsessed with becoming a social media star. At the other end of the road is a dump site which is rumoured to have a duppy monster living in the rubbish.
Like all pantomimes, there are positive messages for audience takeaway. The National Solid Waste Management Authority and Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica have come on board as sponsors to reinforce the themes of a clean environment and the responsible use of social media.
Trash and Hype will play at the Little Theatre and show times on weekends.
The April 23 performance will be dedicated to celebrating the memory of Ancile and Barbara Gloudon and establishing a scholarship fund.