by James Wilkinson
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Story by Matthew Woods. Written by the ensemble. Costume Design: Cotton Talbot-Minkin. Lighting Design: Christopher Bocchiaro. Set Concept and Sound Design: Matthew Woods. Scenic Design: Rebecca Lehrhoff. Puppet Design: Sophia Giordano and Rebecca Lehrhoff. Steampunk Consultant: Isaiah Plovnic. Choreography Kiki Samko. Presented by imaginary Beasts at the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown, through February 4
It can be a wonderful thing to have all of your theatrical expectations totally upended. Having seen Imaginary Beasts’ Winter Panto, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, let me start by admitting how ashamed I am that I have never been to one of their previous Winter Pantos, an annual event since 2009. In fact, when I walked into this production I really had no understanding of what a pantomime was. Back in elementary school I read a Great Illustrated Classic’s version of Jules Verne’s classic novel, so I had a vague idea of what the plot of the show would be, but that was it. About thirty seconds into the show, I realized that it wasn’t at all going to be what I thought it would be. Five minutes in, I had a giant smile plastered on my face that didn’t leave for the entire run time of the show. If you’re looking for an activity to make you forget about the freezing temperatures outside, then I can’t recommend this inspired bit of theatrical lunacy enough.