One of my favourite Christmas traditions in the UK is Pantomimewhere famous actors take part inproductions at the theatre riddled with jokes, musical numbers, slapstick, innuendo, and idiocy. The titles of the various productions bear little or no connection to their original storiesthey are really just a loose framework off which to invent a couple of hours of raucous entertainment. Over the years we have taken the children to see Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White, and this year, Dick Whittington.
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a pantomime before. A lot of it came down to the central starShane Richiea major television star in the UK, and perhaps most importantly a hangover tothe days on television when light entertainment ruled. From the moment he walked onto the stage (and then straight into the audience) he had us all in the palm of his hand. Given the title of the productionDick Whittingtonthe dick jokes flew thick and fast. I was sat next to our eldest daughter, who tried not to give away that she got all the jokeswhich then just made them funnier.
I think perhaps the most impressive thing about the production was the “mistakes”. Pantomimes are a huge opportunity for the more talented cast to ad-lib, or if they arereallygood, tolook like they are ad-libbing. There were endless mistakes at key moments that had us all falling aboutand (after checking with friends who also saw the show this morning) it turns out every single slip, drop, or missed cue was acted. Every. Single. One.
On the journey home our children fought with each other in the back of the car to share “their favourite bits”, and then crashed into bed without argument or complaint. A good day.