OH, NO it isn’t… oh, yes it is.
It’s a blog about the annual British pantomime – or ‘panto’ for short.
This past weekend saw my Mexican wife’s latest induction to her new life in England.
For those of you in the US and overseas, the dictionary definition of pantomime is this: ‘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’.
After sitting through the hour-and-a-half performance at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal, Jacky’s definition of a pantomime is simply this: ‘It’s crazy’.
The Christmas panto is a British tradition. It’s as British as you can get – and its roots reportedly go all the way back to the 16th century.
Men dress up as women, women dress up as men, they sing songs, tell rude jokes and just have a laugh.
It’s bonkers, bizarre and quite brilliant in its silliness.
I hadn’t been to the panto since my mum won tickets in a newspaper competition when I was about seven or eight.
And boy did I NOT notice the sexual innuendos back then.
The kids love the audience participation, and the colour and ridiculousness of it all – not least the songs and chorus of ‘he’s behind you… oh no he isn’t, oh yes he is…’ lines.
The adults love the clever (but silly) jokes, the double entendres, the forgotten lines and mistakes, and the occasional glances from the stars referencing how ridiculous it all is.
I couldn’t help but glance over at Jacks throughout the whole ordeal, sorry show, to check that she wasn’t horrified by what she was seeing.
Huge credit has got to go to the entertainer (and true star of the show) Bobby Davro who – on greeting the audience and revealing how happy he was to be back in Plymouth, went on to he’s the only entertainer of his age left who “isn’t in prison” (referencing the ongoing sexual abuse scandals rocking the British entertainment industry).
And if the panto itself wasn’t crazy enough, the annual panto after show party made for a pretty wild night.
Here, on the top floor of the venue, saw a mix of panto stars and theatre employees, footballers, journalists and city businessmen – with a large shot of something very alcoholic.
“You’re hungover…?” friends asked us the morning after the show with a look of equal part disbelief and horror.
“You went to a kids pantomime and got drunk?!”
“Have you been to a panto recently…? Wow…” I smirked.
“Times have changed…”
A journalist colleague of mine told me recently that one year one of the previous stars of the Plymouth panto asked if he could do his interview “lying down”.
The interview just so happened to take place the morning after the panto party.
Anyhow, watching the Christmas pantomime is another tick on the list.
Now we’re set for our first Christmas together in the UK.
Oh, yes it is… it’s CHRISTMAS!
Merry Christmas everyone!