Panto time!

There is a tradition of panto (pantomime) which I am realising is almost unique to UK and Ireland – so thought I would enlighten (!) the rest of my readers from around the world what it’s all about!

Why?

Because our church is putting on a show – a panto, next week, in our local high school. We last put on a panto about 7 years ago.

I can’t really share any pics of our rehearsals yet, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will try to explain what panto is …. so stick with me!

First of all here is the poster advertising the show next week

panto time little red riding hood

The story is allegedly/supposedly Little Red Riding Hood, although it doesn’t follow the plot of the fairytale too closely!

Here is a list of some of the characters appearing next week, which might give you more of an indication of what will be happening:

Red Riding Hood, Wolf, Maid Marion, Wizard, Dame Dumpty, Robin Hood, a Fairy Godmother, a Forest King and many more – probably a dozen principal characters

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Then there are about another 10 of us in the “chorus” (including yours truly!) – we sing and dance and say the occasional line. I am not one to feel comfortable in the spotlight, so more than happy to be in the back row of most scenes and dance routines, but it is fun being part of the rehearsals, and as they say “it’s great craic”!

I found this definition on the History of Pantomime

The story of pantomime is a tale of dragons and serpents. It features men dressed as women, and women masquerading as young men. Pantomime presents a tale of good and evil, where hope triumphs over adversity after danger and virtual despair. It has its roots in ancient Greece, and via Italy and France, insinuates itself into Britain. Pantomime’s unique fusion of eccentricity, ambiguity and absurdity has much to tell us about our national identity. Christmas, for many of us, would not be Christmas without pantomime; and pantomime was the place we first discovered the magic of theatre.There is lots of singing and dancing,

There are a few features in every panto

  • It will be loosely based on a fairytale
  • Audience participation is positively encouraged, with the classic lines “He’s behind you!” and ‘Oh yes he is” “Oh no he’s not” being yelled out.
  • There will be a battle between good and evil – with good triumphing with a guaranteed happy ending
  • Modern and popular songs will be included, including some with rewritten lyrics.
  • The costumes are “over the top”, wigs, makeup, lights, dance routines, music and sound effects.

Dress rehearsal is next Thursday, then show time will be Friday and Saturday.

Expect to see quite a few photos on Instagram from back stage of the show next weekend….. you have been warned!

Do you enjoy panto (for those who know what it is)?

Do share any experiences you may have, and if you have never heard of it and have more questions – ask away!

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