Roy­ally ridicu­lous

With Christ­mas fast ap­proach­ing, most of Malta is al­ready buy­ing tick­ets for the tra­di­tion­ally hi­lar­i­ous fes­tive panto at the Teatru Ma­noel. As FM The­atre Pro­duc­tions pre­pares to bring the fairy-tale clas­sic Sleep­ing Beauty to the stage at Malta’s na­tiona

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Per­form­ing just one role in the merry may­hem of a Christ­mas panto in Malta is con­sid­ered by many ac­tors to be some­thing of a chal­lenge. Lo­cal mu­si­cal the­atre ac­tress and singer Analise Cas­sar, how­ever, is cur­rently pre­par­ing to dou­ble the trou­ble, play­ing two key roles in FM The­atre’s up­com­ing Christ­mas panto at the Teatru Ma­noel, Sleep­ing Beauty.

“I love that both my char­ac­ters, Queen As­tra and Sy­bil, are so dif­fer­ent,” says Analise. “Who wouldn’t want to be a Queen for just a lit­tle while? It will not be hard to fall in love with the royal pres­ence that comes with Queen As­tra, as she is as good as it gets. I love the song I will be singing to­gether with my daugh­ter Princess Aurora [the tit­u­lar Sleep­ing Beauty], and I’m thor­oughly ex­cited to wear her gor­geous dress.”

When Analise has fin­ished play­ing roy­alty, how­ever, she must then turn her at­ten­tion to per­form­ing as the Queen’s ram­bunc­tious sis­ter, Sy­bil. “Sy­bil is very dif­fer­ent to my real-life per­son­al­ity, so I love the mo­ments where I get to play her. She is a height­ened and elab­o­rate pan­tover­sion of the char­ac­ter of ‘Sy­bil’ in Fawlty Tow­ers - she is loud, over-the-top, pre­sump­tu­ous and very vain. As an ac­tor, it’s fun to chan­nel that ‘all about me’ aura and have fun with it, for a lit­tle while.”

As she plays the mother and aunt re­spec­tively of the Princess Aurora, who as per the clas­sic story is cursed as a baby by the evil fairy Malef­i­cent and falls asleep un­der her spell many years later, Analise joins a tal­ented cast of lo­cal per­form­ers in the mag­i­cal ad­ven­ture, in­clud­ing panto vet­eran Ed­ward Mer­cieca as Dame Nanna Kola.

“Work­ing with FM The­atre is al­ways ex­cit­ing and fun,” says Analise. “It is a warm, fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment, which is awe­some to work in. Watch­ing the cho­rus in re­hearsals is ex­hil­a­rat­ing as they are all ex­tremely dis-

FM The­atre Pro­duc­tions proudly presents Sleep­ing Beauty at the Teatru Ma­noel, Val­letta, with per­for­mances at 3pm and 8pm on 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 De­cem­ber and 2, 3, 5 Jan­uary, at 8pm only on 4 Jan­uary, and at 3pm only on 6 Jan­uary. Tick­ets are priced from 20 and are avail­able from www.teatru­ma­noel.com.mt. An early bird dis­count of 10% is avail­able un­til 30 Novem­ber.

ciplined, ded­i­cated, and al­ready ad­vanced in their re­hearsal process. The songs are also re­ally great fun this year, and I’m ex­cited to get to the end of this re­hearsal process, and see the magic hit the stage!”

Although she main­tains a busy stage ca- reer thanks to her pro­fes­sional mu­si­cal the­atre train­ing, Analise still con­sid­ers watch­ing a panto an un­miss­able Christ­mas tra­di­tion – just like thou­sands of other the­atre-go­ers in Malta. “Although per­form­ing as an ac­tress and singer is my full-time job, I still feel the need to book tick­ets and watch a Christ­mas Panto ev­ery year, as oth­er­wise it never feels like I’ve ful­filled my De­cem­ber to-do list. it is a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion which I never miss – and this year I cer­tainly won’t, as I’ll be on stage too!”

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