It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and that can only mean one thing…panto season has officially begun!
This got me to thinking about my childhood panto experiences and it’s safe to say my junior schools annual trip to the panto was one of the highlights of my year as a child. Excitedly boarding the bus to take us up to the Sunderland Empire (showing my Northern roots here!), sitting on the red velvet seats, eating all the sweets your mum gave you before it started and then that booming voiceover announcing “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…” and the curtains opened and all sorts of hilarity ensued (including everyone going berserk when hard sweets were thrown into the audience)
My absolute favourite panto involved Jet and Cobra from Gladiators (firm favourites) being joined by The Krankies in Aladdin. It’s one of my earliest memories of thinking ‘I want to work in theatre!’ – particularly if it meant I got to work with Jet and Cobra. However, the worst panto I went to was a version of Jack and the Beanstalk where an aging TV star had been cast in one of the key roles. Even as a child I felt genuinely concerned for his health as he looked like he’d just done a stint on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here living on rice and beans for three weeks. Even now I question his suitability for such a role and it really highlighted just how hard work panto is – I mean, you’re singing and dancing throughout the entire Christmas period AND start of the New Year. Most of us only manage that for one day over the festive season!
Despite my childhood love of panto’s I’ve never been to see one of the ‘adult pantos’ that frequent the London fringe scene at Christmas time. A quick look on the Timeout website reveals a particular trend for including the word “booty” in the title so as to distinguish it’s adult content. However I’m determined to broaden my horizons this year and the mission to find the best adult panto has officially begun…now!
PS. Oh no it hasn’t! Oh yes it has! He’s behind youuuuuu!!
PPS. Will be interested to see how the above phrases work in an ‘adult’ pantomime! Oh matron!