Thursday 20 January 2011

He's behind yooooooooou.......

(December 28th)

Panto 101
I think pantomimes as I know them, are primarily a British thing and when you try to explain what a panto is to someone who has never experienced one you always get a lot of strange looks, so for all you lovely readers who have never been to a UK style panto, here is a breakdown of the panto 'rules'.....

They are always put on around Christmas time and for me Christmas would not be Christmas in the UK if I didn't go to the panto. 
The stories are always well known fairytales such as Jack and The Beanstalk, Cinderella, Puss In Boots and in this case Aladdin.
The leading male character is ALWAYS played by a young woman, here is Aladdin himself herself.

 The leading woman is ALWAYS played by a man - usually a middle aged, over weight man at that, ridiculous over the top outfits are a MUST. Here is the stunning Widow Twanky...
 Audience participation is compulsory, lots of shouting and warning the characters when the baddie comes, there is usually a song where everyone has to get up and sing and join in some daft dance and the cast end up in the audience somewhere along the way.
 At some point a member or two of the audience will end up on stage and there is usually a messy scene within the play, although they are not necessarily done at the same time. It was at this show, the guy in the middle was an audience member, there was lots of mess and a silly chase, Widow Twanky and Wishy-Washy fell over and Widow Twanky lost her wig which just made the whole thing even funnier.
Now, I bet you are thinking that this is a play for kids, well you are wrong, a well scripted panto has lots of innuendos and adult humour too so when the kids aren't laughing, the parents are. It is also fully acceptable for the actors to ad-lib, especially if they manage to make the other actors laugh. Widow Twanky was obviously the queen of ad lib and had every actor snickering at some point, never mind the audience.
Most of the bigger theatres have 'famous' actors in the cast, I hadn't heard of any of the cast but these two were from some kids TV programme apparently.

We had primed Ebi-kun with the lines 'He's behind you', 'Ohhh no it isn't' and 'ohhhh yes it is' so it didn't take him long to get into the swing of it. The show we went to see was at the Lyceum in Crewe and it was brilliant, we all came out with sore throats from the shouting, Wishy-Washy stole the show, he was amazing and Widow Twanky played a star role too. A big thank you to mom for getting the tickets we really enjoyed it!


  1. Isn't rule #4 that the cast must include one of the latest pretty young things from the cast of Neighbours or Home and Away? ;)

  2. or Hollyoaks it seems! The 'famous' members of this cast were from waterloo Road - I have NO idea what that is

  3. Oh my goodness....that sounds like so much fun!!

  4. We saw our first panto last year and it was Aladdin! We loved it so much we're going again this year, Saturday in fact. This year we're seeing Dick Whittington and his Magical Cats. Can't wait to Look Behind Us!! xo

  5. Ohhh I wish you had of witten this about 18 years ago when my host family took me to a panto. I was lost and bewildered and really had no idea at all what was going on and the distinct feeling that everyone around me *did* know!

    Now I want to print this off as a crib sheet and go to another one!

  6. Ohh, that must have been fun! We were supposed to see Aladdin in Cambridge with my brother and his family in December, but couldn't go because we were still stuck in Frankfurt :-(

    I was born near Crewe and visited the area regularly for the first 25 years of my life (my grandparents lived in Sandbach), but never knew until today that it had a theatre!

  7. Claire - what a shame! The theatre in Crewe is really old, I think it is it's 100 year anniversary this year. Mom lives in Congleton, just down the road form Sandbach.


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