19.12.08

my first christmas pantomime

image from here.

so, we went and did something apparently very english last night---watching a pantomime for the holidays. we saw 'jack & the beanstalk' at greenwich theatre and i have to say it probably one of the weirdest experiences of mine to date. pantomime's have been around a really long time in this country and the only way i could describe what i saw is a mixture of drama/cabaret/slapstick/audience participation/over the top drag queen show. in american terms--i think if you want to picture a bit of saturday night live, the old variety shows from the 40's or bits of the carol burnett show and times all these by 10. but even still its hard to capture the exact feel of these shows in american terms. anything that we might have had/do have like this was originally inspired by the british pantomimes.

usually they consist of some fairytale, with men dressed up as women, pretty dancing girls, interjecting lots of song and dance numbers, audience participation (booing at the villains), singing at the end, a bit of slapstick, bad acting, over the top costumes & wigs and sets (some that even fall apart mid way through like ours did). the audience is full of people of literally all ages and by the end everyone has had a good time.

although i was in shock for most of the time and couldn't stop laughing cause i couldn't believe it was happening---it was good fun and i wouldn't mind going again. i think what was most shocking was seeing an audience of usually well behaved brits do more enthusiasm & show such sheer hyperactivity in a 2 hour show than they do all year. all i can say is---wow.

anyway, if you want to watch a bit of a pantomime here's a snippet off of youtube.

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