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If the shoe Fitz… | Colin Fitz

He’s a rotund all-rounder for sure, but we catche up with DJ/actor/magazine editor Colin Fitz just when he’s about to embark on something entirely novel for him: taking on the role of the Dame in Masquerade’s upcoming Chirstmas panto, The Curse of Snow White.

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
27 December 2012, 12:00am
Colin Fitz will be ‘competing’ with fellow Dame Alan Montanaro this Christmas: “I’m the fat one, Alan’s the thin one...”
Colin Fitz will be ‘competing’ with fellow Dame Alan Montanaro this Christmas: “I’m the fat one, Alan’s the thin one...”
 

Colin Fitz is a jack of all trades.

You could easily say the same thing about most people in the local cultural sphere at the moment, and it's a fact that this magazine editor-cum-radio DJ-cum-actor is very much aware of.

"The secret is to keep a very strict schedule and to stick to it," Fitz tells me during a chat at our offices - an appointment he is punctual for. This, according to Fitz, is another necessary weapon in the busy freelancer's arsenal.

"Answer all your emails, remember your appointments and always be on time, that's the only way I can think of managing it. Of course it helps that I'm single, so I don't have to organise my schedule around anybody else's..."

But Fitz's time has just been squeezed for air, as he's just accepted a very demanding - and somewhat intimidating - new undertaking. During this Christmas period, he will serve as Dame for Masquerade's Panto at the Manoel Theatre: The Curse of Snow White, playing from 26 December until 6 January.

Fitz, who edits 'First' Magazine as his 'day job' among many other commitments, says that he's had to drop a part-time DJ gig in order to immerse himself in the role as required.

Fitz is certainly no stranger to Panto: he recounts forming part of the chorus in the same Panto in which Alan Montanaro (now the island's perennial Dame, and Fitz's erstwhile 'rival' for this season) debuted as Dame. But while he's established himself as a comic stage actor over the years (even taking on the titular role in the Robin Hood panto in 2001), few roles are more prominent in Malta than the Dame.

"I'm the fat one, Alan Montanaro's the thin one," he quips. "Throughout the course of my 20-year experience as a part-time actor, I discovered that comic parts are really my forte, and it eventually dawned on me that the biggest comic part to do in the country was the Dame. Of course the Dame role is usually on lockdown for a couple of people - Alan, of course, and most recently Edward Mercieca for the Masquerade pantos - but I put the word out there that in case there happen to be any 'vacancies', I'd be more than interested in taking on the role, and it just so happened that Masquerade were looking for a Dame this year and I was glad to jump at the chance, especially given that the script writer, Malcolm Galea, is a good friend of mine."

So how does he feel about finally scoring the role?

"It feels great! I'm a bit nervous of course," he adds with a smile, "it's a challenge too, of course - it's the panto's most visible role and as an actor you need to be spot-on with the humour and deliver the cutting, satirical jokes with as much gusto as possible. But overall it's a very satisfying feeling."

One of the key ingredients to the panto's enduring success - it remains the only theatrical production to rake in a substantial amount of cash in the local sphere - is attributable to its ability to appeal to wide range of audiences, of all social spheres and age groups.

"Yes, this has become something of a cliché," Fitz confesses, "but that's really the main selling points of the panto: the fact that it is a 'family' show in every sense of the word. I can't really think of any other form of entertainment that has such wide-ranging appeal, in the sense that it'll be accessible to kids while still having a healthy dose of innuendo and political satire to appeal to their parents..."

So what kind of satire can we expect this time around?

"First of all I think it's important to remember that in Malta, people are just hungry for political satire. So much so that they fill up three pantos - our own, MADC's with Alan Montanaro and the Istitut Kattoliku one - and they also flock to Bla Kondixin, and even Zoo... and this year, we just can't keep up with all that's happening! I keep getting new material to insert into the script with all the drama happening in parliament that I'm getting a bit worried about memorising it all!

"So of course we have plenty to work with... whether it's the judiciary, whether it's the election, the budget, a new lift being unveiled and not working properly... I mean, can nothing ever work in this country?"

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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