Holiday Arts Guide: 3 shows that give the gift of laughs

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      East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

      (At the York Theatre from November 29 to January 6)

      Theatre Replacement serves up a warped take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves this season. For those who haven’t caught this hyperlocal, truly twisted holiday tradition, rest assured you’ll have a good time. This rendition even heads to the PNE (hello, SuperDogs!). Bonus: whacked-out favourite Allan Zinyk returns as the show’s cross-dressing villain.

      Christmas Queen 4—Secret Santa and Christmas Queen Drag Race

      (At the Improv Centre to December 23)

      Vancouver TheatreSports League brings back the hilariously nasty, big ’n’ blue-haired villain for not one but two shows this holiday season. Christmas Queen 4—Secret Santa should appeal to all audiences, with Her Royal Meanness and Santa exchanging bodies, Freaky Friday–style, and putting the big day in serious jeopardy. For a racier experience, head to Christmas Queen Drag Race, where she and her special guest, drag star the Unstoppable Conni Smudge, offer up a more-naughty-than-nice late-night show: in it, they put the VTSL ensemble through its paces in a series of challenges. As usual, audience suggestions fuel both shows.

      The Day Before Christmas

      (At the Arts Club’s Goldcorp Stage in the BMO Theatre Centre to December 24)

      This comedy should hit home for anyone who’s tried to host the perfect Christmas while juggling work demands. Let’s just say Alex (Jennifer Copping) loses control of everything from the turkey to the tree. What else would you expect from two playwrights, Stacey Kaser and Alison Kelly, who openly admit they hate Christmas? Chelsea Haberlin directs this returning production, which evidently hit a chord during its nearly sold-out run last year.