Monday, 16 January 2012

Shop local for a good panto......

I have seen a grand total of four pantomimes during this recent festive period. Oh yes I have. And that is not counting the Cbeebies panto, much trailed and anticipated in our house, viewed endlessley on Iplayer, along with the previous two years’ offerings – kindly laid on by the BBC as a gesture of Peace on Earth to all pre-schoolers and their busy parents.
Of the live productions, here's what we thought:
Panto 1: Center Parcs in-house production of Aladin. A poor offering. Presented in a conference room, with a women playing the dame and man playing the principal boy. Darling Little Boy loved it....
Panto 2: Cinderella at the Birmingham Hippodrome. This was the big league, £30 a ticket. It had the stars, it had the special effects. It had no soul. Crude jokes for the grown-ups felt naff and inappropriate. Darling Little Boy (and I) slept through a section of it. For the bits he was awake, however, he loved it.....
Panto 3: Aladin at Scarborough Spa on New Year’s Day. Sublime. A small professional company gave it rock all. I was unaware that Gary Barlow had derisively described an XFactor performance as ‘Like the opening of a bad panto in Scarborough’, but this band of players took it on the chin. In fact, they put it on the posters and stuck a guy in a Gary mask in the opening number. Sitting there watching from the front row as the dame ad-libbed and the leads slapped down a particularly prickly heckler with great aplomb, I fell in love with the magic of pantomime all over again. It brought back my childhood memories of my own time in the junior chorus of the local panto. The smell of the greasepaint, hero-worship for the principle boy. When the particularly authoritative and – was it just me? – rather attractive comedy policeman – put the heckler in his place by informing him he was keen to get to the pub, I knew he really was, I knew that these sparkly dazzling performers would all be having a drink or three after the show, and I wanted to join them! Darling Little Boy loved it....
Panto 4: Cinderella, Leeds Carriageworks. This was mediocre. DLB loved it.
The lesson?  My child would be happy with any pantomime. I, however, am quite fussy. I like them cheap, local and old fashioned, because they are the best.

No comments:

Post a comment