Christmas is undeniably camp. All that glittering tinsel. And what could be camper than Calamity Jane star Virginia Gay leading an all-star Aussie pantomime for Belvoir’s dramatic flourish of an ending to 2021? Pantos, as they are more affectionately known, are known for fielding massive stars in super-camp stagings of (usually) fairytales, with lots of gender fluidity, booing at bad guys and general audience hilarity.
“Right when lockdown first hit, I got an email from Virginia who was in LA, and she’d just come from London where she’d seen, for the first time in her life, a panto, and it blew her mind,” Belvoir’s artistic director Eamon Flack told us. “She was like, ‘I love these so much. I want to write one for Belvoir’.”
She got no arguments, and so The Boomkak Panto will see out the year in style. And it addresses one of the most Aussie stories of all: a big developer muscling in on a small community that is not having a bar of it. This regional outpost launches into a David and Goliath battle to save their town, which is full of happy families, refreshing diversity and the occasional rivalry. They all draw together in a battle for survival and, in a meta-textual twist, fight back by staging their own pantomime.
“It’s a suitably ridiculous plotline, but completely on theme for Belvoir,” Flack says. “My nickname for it is the panto panto, because it is a panto about putting on a panto. It’s just an excuse to pack as much theatrical joy into one plot as you can possibly s