Heart-warming performances, audience participation and humorous punch lines, Sophie Tooley praises British pantomimes.
That fateful day my mum told me I really was “too old for the pantomime this year” had to be one of the worst days of my life. Well, maybe not, but it was a pretty big deal. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without that yearly trip to the local panto. Amidst the often questionable acting, cringe-worthy jokes, obscenely priced flashing devices and hairy-legged dames lies a heart-warming tale which always marks the panto trip as one of my top ten Christmas joys. The sparkling costumes, intricate set, feel-good songs and ridiculous games will enthral each spectator, whether they like it or not. Yes: pantos are cheesy and predictable but that’s just what makes them so entertaining. The crude jokes, humorous comments on your hometown and the endless slapstick humour will inevitably bring a smile to every audience member.
Not only are pantos delightfully ridiculous and amusing but they also tell a moral story. Essentially, pantomimes comment on the true nature of human life. Okay, I am an English student so I probably would say that as I’m always driving my friends crazy by reading way too much into everything. However, these exaggerated fairy tales show us the concepts of good and evil, with a glorious happy ending proving to us that good can always triumph.
Pantos are more than just theatre – they are an essential part of the Christmas season. Everyone leaves their seats with a warm glow in their heart: full of anticipation and excitement for Christmas and New Year. They may not be the best productions you’ll ever see, but they serve their purpose of entertainment ten times over. Not only this, but the pantomime plummets children into the world of theatre as it will often be their first experience of a live performance. Instead of sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, children can scream “It’s behind you!” with the numerous interactive games and sing alongs that pantos offer.
And whatever my mum may say, pantos have a joke for every generation. Children, teens, mums, dads, grandmas and grandpas flock to the theatre each year for their Christmas panto experience. And if one thing is certain this holiday, it is that I will be joining them.
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