Last Thursday we went to the pantomime in Inverness. Not this:
We’ve seen posters since the end of November in almost every city in the U.K. we’ve been to advertising that city’s pantomime (aka panto). The shows generally run sometime between the end of November through the beginning of January.
(Wendover (Aylesbury), Buxton, Edinburgh)
So, now you’re probably wondering, “What is panto, if it’s not this?”
It is soooooo much fun! The definition of British Pantomime is:
A theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.
On a list of U.K. Christmas traditions, it’s described as “something that has to be experienced to fully appreciate it,” which is completely true!
The woman at the Inverness Visitor Center told us if we haven’t gone to a panto show yet, we really need to go. So we walked over to the Eden Court Theater and purchased tickets for an afternoon production of:
It was a full theater of all ages. There were several school groups there, too, as they weren’t yet on break. From the very start, we knew it was going to be fun and interactive! There are specific elements that are generally included in all pantomimes, including audience participation, original music combined with well-known songs, an older woman (the dame) played by a man, a young boy character played by a woman, an animal character, a good fairy and a villain.
In the production we saw, some of the songs included “I would walk 500 miles,” “Proud Mary,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “My Heart Will Go On,” and a Beyonce song as well as references in the dialogue to Pokeman, Trump, Harry Potter (“Here’s Tom and Dick. Where’s Harry?”).
It was a 2-hour show with a 20-minute intermission, but it was non-stop entertainment!! 🙂 We highly recommend it if you find yourself across the pond during the Christmas holiday season!
Here’s a review of the show we saw: http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/14971668.Pantomime_review__Dick_Whittington_at_Eden_Court_Theatre__Inverness/
And here’s more general information about the history of pantomime: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime