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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Panto

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







14 comments:

CHEWY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CHEWY said...

A Very Merry Christmas to you, Shrinky. I'll sing a Christmas Carol for you tomorrow. (wink)

Fletch said...

"I wonder what Chewy said initially that made her rethink and withdraw the post ... ?"

But that's not the reason for this comment.

Reciprocate the Season's Greetings, but especially want to get in a plug for the New Year. Hope it turns out to be better than 2008.

Always wish that on myself and everybody else, and it has almost always turned out to be a clunker!

Posted a 'singalong' YouTube featuring Noddy (complete with retro-haircut), an 'uplifting' tune if ever there was one!

Cuckoo said...

A Very Merry Christmas to you, Shrinky. The party is still going on ?

CHEWY said...

Mr. Nosey, (wink)

Blogger was taking a long time processing my first comment.

I clicked "stop loading page".

Retyped my comment.

Published my second comment.

Then both my comments appeared.

I deleted the first one.

If it wasn't so early in the morning, I might have made up a better story.

Donald Douglas said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday.

QUASAR9 said...

WOW Shrinky!
And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours too

Shrinky said...

Hope you're singing, Chewy! (Sing louder, I can't hear you..)

Hi Fletch, Chewy has supplied the answer, I see (grin). Thanks hon, and the same back again for you and yours - I'll have a little trot over as soon as the dust settles at this end. Smile.

Yes cuckoo, very much so (smile). Merry Christmas to you too, bonny lass!

Thank you Donald, Merry Christmas and welcome to my humble abode.

Quasar9, Bingle Jells - hope you are having a good one?

Les Becker said...

Wow! I must see this theatre when I visit. Will they let me stay the night?

SJ said...

Sounds like a good time was had by some if not all.

A very very merry Christmas to you and your family.

Mushy said...

Merry Christmas my dear, and thanks for sharing the photos, especially those of you kids!

Invariably, my first shot at a concert reveals the flash...it's like a gun you think is unloaded...it fires and scares the hell out of you. Then you scramble to turn off the flash as security scans the crowd to see where you are!

*Goddess* said...

What a great tradition! Merry Christmas:)

Fireblossom said...

Heck, take ME to the panto, I'll go!

Merry Christmas, Shrinky!

jay said...

Ooh ... what a lovely old theatre! I love those highly decorated old buildings!