Friday, December 17, 2010

The Panto! "It's Behind You!" Special Guest Blog from London.

Picture above- Christmas Pantomime 1832- A harlequin and clown protrayed by King William IV(1765 -1837) Lord, Broughan,Lord Gray and Lord Eldon

The Panto: "It's behind you!"

London offers a smorgasbord of festive activities for the entire family, from carols by candlelight to skating at one of the many rinks set up just for the season. However, it would be remiss not to talk about one of the most curious and wonderful events that is put on around the country just at Christmas. What else could it be but the Pantomime?!

Cindarella Pantomime Circa 1881- A hardship scene.

The Panto, as it is fondly known, is one of those curious British theatrical offerings that appeals to both children and adults if it well written, and I'm yet to experience one that has not been well written. In a world in which we appear to take ourselves too seriously, the panto is a perfect antidote (even if it is only for two hours or so).

Where else can you go and experience:
  • something that thumbs its nose at 'political correctness'
  • cross-dressing men who wear the most fantastic costumes
  • bawdy jokes, mild sexual innuendo and double entendre
  • interacting with the actors as you yell abuse (only at the villain of course)
  • current songs which have been re-written (think of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance rewritten as Bad Rodents)
  • terrible jokes at which you have to laugh simply because they're so bad
  • 'health and safety' being overruled as sweets are thrown to children in the audience
  • children stories that barely resemble the original story lines (but at least you're familiar with the general plot which is sufficient)
  • slapstick and mad dance routines
  • TV and Stage celebs getting in on the action (playing lead roles)?
So, if you're in and around London, or even farther afield, at Christmas, why not make tracks for a Pantomime and enter a whole new world of entertainment inhabited by Dames (cross-dressing men), animals (dancing cows, horses, cats) and where you are also expected to sing along to well known songs?

It is said that laughter is the best medicine and the Panto provides that by the barrelful.

Go on, you never know how much you might enjoy it.

Some London venues offering a Pantomine:

  • New Wimbledon Theatre
  • Hammersmith Lyric
  • Richmond Theatre
  • Hackney Empire
  • Vaudeville Theatre
Traditional storylines
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Dick Whittington...and his Cat
  • Cinderalla
  • Aladdin
  • Snow White
  • Peter Pan
I see that Joan Collins is scheduled to be in her first panto this year, not to mention David Hasselhoff. It seems the Americans just can't stay away.


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