Ever since the kid's arrived, it's been an annual tradition over at our house, Christmas just wouldn't feel the same without it. Reluctantly, I admit these days both our eldest daughter and eldest son consider themselves way too cool to be seen dead at such a venue, so it tends to be only our youngest, Abby and our Sweet Sam who accompanies us now.
(My hand is not so much as resting rather than pinning them in place here, I'm sure you can see how eager they were to be caught on camera, but well that's the price they paid for the promise of a tub of ice-cream come the interval.)Camera's are strictly banned from photographing inside the theatre, and even I wasn't crass enough to pop off any flashes during the live performance, but I did at least manage to sneak a few shots in during the interval. I love this theatre, it was built in 1899, and has been recently restored to it's original splendour. These snaps do it poor justice, but maybe it'll give you a flavour to the place. The high domed ceiling is beautiful, the centre is glass, allowing natural light to filter through.I am surprised to find not all Countries know or celebrate the Christmas Pantomime - so for the benefit of those who don't, let me try to explain what it's all about. It's kind of a mix between vaudeville and burlesque. The Panto dame is always in drag - a guy dressed in gaudy frocks, and the leading man is usually a pretty girl in a tunic and tights, who tends to slap her thigh a lot at the end of her speeches. She often zooms around flying across the stage. The story is always based around a fairy tale or a nursery rhyme, and although it purports to be mainly for the kids, there are lots of jokes that the adults can read a double meaning into. (Sorry the image is blurry, but it was the best I could fire off without alerting security!)A little like the live performance of "The Rocky Horror Show" audience participation is all, entailing the actors frequently running up and down the rows of seats and molesting us with various objects, anything from stoning us with sweets to drenching us with water cannons. (I drew the water cannon this year.) There is always a villain who creeps up behind our hero, and us, the audience, are honour bound to yell out "He's behind you!" to alert him every time he appears - not that it ever makes a scrap of difference; the hero may be lovely and all that, but is obviously as thick as two short planks in the reaction department, "Greased Lightening" is hardly his middle name. There is also a lot of debate between the cast and us, one insisting, "Oh, no he's not!", the other hotly countering with, "Oh, yes he is!" which is repeated back and forth until some kid at the back starts crying, shaming everyone into shutting up and allowing the story to continue on. Do you know it is still a by-law for every theatre in the UK to have a fire-proof safety curtain drawn during intervals? It dates back to when the lighting was lit by gas-flame.
Anyhows, a fine time was had by all, and now I am finally, and officially in the Christmas Spirit.
Which just leaves me to wish each and every one of you A VERY MERRY, WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS, and to thank you for helping to make 2008 such a special, rewarding year for me! XXX