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Monday, March 4, 2024

Beauty and the Beast gets the East Van Panto treatment

East Van Panto: Beauty and the Beast continues at the York Theatre until January 7, 2024.

Now in its 11th year, The Cultch’s East Van Panto returns to the York Theatre this holiday season with Beauty and the Beast.

Known for its goofy and irreverent take on everything from politics to pop culture, its local satire, and pop song parodies, each panto presents a familiar story in a completely original way. This year, the award-winning writing team of Jivesh Parasram and Christine Quintana has reinvented the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast with a decidedly East Van spin.

In Parasram and Quintana’s version, a business-minded Belle is separated from her free-spirited dad, Maurice. She becomes imprisoned in an enchanted specialty grocery store by a strangely familiar Beast who seems very set in his ways. With time running out, Belle must use her smarts alongside her new friends Miso Potts, little Tofu and their Bento Buds to flip the perspective of Belle’s captor and break the curse before the last cherry blossom falls.

“An East Van Beauty and the Beast of course demands a different perspective [than the original]. More specifically, the willingness to flip one’s own perspective,” says Parasram and Quintana. “What keeps a neighbourhood healthy is the willingness to hear each other out, be affected by how we see things, and most importantly—to be open to changing our minds… and that is the is the type of neighbourhood we live in [East Van].”

Anita Rochon returns to the director’s chair, while East Van’s Veda Hille returns as the composer with panto renditions of songs from Billie Eilish to The Beach Boys.

The Cultch presents the Theatre Replacement production of East Van Panto: Beauty and the Beast at the York Theatre (until January 7, 2024). Visit thecultch.com for tickets and information.

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