Saturday, 28 December 2013

Pantomime Time

If we were in England now, we would be booking up to see a Pantomime. It was always an after Christmas treat.

A Pantomime is usually a well-known fairy tale, like Aladdin, Cinderella or Snow White. The leading man used to be played by a woman, and there was always a funny old woman played by a man. The leading man is no longer a woman, it's probably not politically correct anymore.

There is always a jar of sweets placed at the side of the stage and a pantomime horse with people inside it. At a certain point the audience  are asked to join in, singing or calling out.

The first Pantomime we went to see was "Peter Pan on Ice" at Wembley Stadium. Tinkerbell flying about was just magical, and we clapped loudly to make her know we believed in fairies.

A few years ago, a fellow expat friend of mine took his Italian wife to a Pantomime at Christmas, in England. She was absolutely shocked by all the double meanings and saucy humour.

Well, I often thought maybe all those innuendos were to remind the Mums and Dads how they came to be Mums and Dads in the first place.

When my children were small, we went to see Dick Whittington. At a certain point someone says to the leading girl, "Oh, Dick, Dick, Dick, all you can think about is... Whittington". All the adults roared with laughter, the children looked blank.

Another time, we managed to get last-minute seats in the front row, for Cinderella. When the Fairy godmother transformed everything into the coach and horses, it was impossible to see how it was done.

One year we went to see The Magic Story Book. This wasn't a Pantomime. It was a Christmas show for the children. they loved that too. There were all the ingredients. the goodie, the baddie, the humour and the wise cracks. The baddie went around saying "Evil, evil, evil ... bad, bad, bad ...".

It was wonderful.

My children got a lot of fun from a children's programme called "Rainbow". They thought it was hilarious. There were 3 main characters. George, a pink hippopotamus, Zippy a yellow puppet with a zip for a mouth, and Bungle the bear. The presenter was a man called Geoffrey. One year they starred in the Pantomime "Aladdin". My sister-in-law arranged for us all to go and see it. My  youngest son was going through  a phase when he had perfected a very infectious laugh. How he laughed at that Pantomime, to the great delight of us and slight annoyance of the people behind. My brother called him "the great defuser", what a wonderful quality to have. He still is.

After the Pantomime, the children were all longing to meet the cast, and as luck would have it, we bumped into them near the car park. They begged the man who played George  to imitate him. The actors all seemed a bit shy, but as they left us we heard the one impersonating George say "I don't want to do George's voice", in George's voice. It was the crowning glory of a very, happy, family outing.

The last time we went to a Pantomime, I sat with my Mum right at the front. It was Aladdin. We had 3D glasses for when the genie appeared. We could hear my little grand daughter clapping with total delight.

If you have the chance to go to the Pantomime, have a great time! Laugh, sing and join in !

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