Popeye is 'captain planet' in The Little Theatre's 25th Christmas pantomime
As a new decade dawns on us, The Little Theatre continues a magnificent run and a timely one at that. Presenting its 25th Christmas pantomime, the group that was founded by Aysha Rau, pays homage to one of our all-time favourite cartoon characters, Popeye (who celebrates his 90th anniversary), while touching upon the sensitive topic of climate change, by setting the play in 1920, when the Amazon forest is burning away due to a mysterious fire. One can’t help but see the obvious parallels between the theme of the show and the ongoing global climate-related crises, where crusaders like Greta Thunberg are garnering all the attention that they deserve.
Directed by Krishnakumar Balasubramanian (KK), the show features artistes like Rohini Rau, Lavita Lobo, Gladwin, Shabeer, Ashwin, Ananya Ramaprasad, Namaratha, Rajshree Das, Harish Kumar and Pranav Giridharan, with over 40 children from The Little Theatre group. The plot of theshow, titled Popaii in Hawaii, goes like this — the hero Popaii (as he is called in the show) is returning home to Hawaii to meet his childhood love, Olive. The island of Hawaii holds the precious ‘Heart of the Ocean’ that is responsible for keeping the earth in one piece. Prophecy has it that when the heart of the ocean is stolen, the world will erupt into chaos. The earth, the sea and the sky will turn against each other. All living creatures will fight each other, and a hero will rise to restore balance. A diabolical villain Melon Musk engineers a genius plan to manipulate the powerful warriors, Tigress and Chip Chip, to retrieve the heart of the ocean, destroy the planet and escape to mars. Meanwhile, Popaii loses his ship and is stranded on a dangerous Island that could cost his life. Will Popaii ever reach the island, and the Heart of the Ocean be protected? That’s what you will find out in the show.
“Over the years, our Christmas panto has managed to attract some wonderful performers. With KK as director, one can be assured to find a wonderfully-choreographed show, complete with some stellar singers this time around,” says Aysha. Having dealt with serious issues like gender equality, pollution and mosquito menace in previous editions, this is yet another occasion where the Christmas Panto portrays a societal issue. “We also have a character whose name is Thunberg!,” quips Aysha. That’s quite some inspiration.
December 13-18. At Museum Theatre. Tickets available online.
(You can get contact the writer at karan.pillai@newindianexpress.