Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Panto, Oh Panto, Oh pants, Oh no ...

There's a tradition in my lovely wife's family that demands that all youngsters incapable of summoning up a reasonable excuse are hauled off in the month preceding Christmas to a theatre by an indulgent mix of mums, dads, uncles and aunts and subjected to a couple of hours of thigh-slapping, shouting, innuendo and camp cross-dressing inspired (allegedly) by the Commedia dell’ Arte (which Italian tradition, rightly in my view, carries the can for quite a lot of theatrical unpleasantness).

There are very few areas on which the gorgeous Mrs Stuffy and I are not entirely aligned, but regular readers will be aware that the prancing around and shouting of allegedly grown-up men and women on a stage is one of them. When I first plighted my troth to Mrs Stuffy this, bastard child of Harlequin, the English panto, was a ritual of which I was blissfully unaware but I'm a dutiful and caring hubby and a few less than horrible years later I was surprised and delighted to find myself cheering one of my teenage heroes, Henry Winkler, AKA the Fonz, as Cap'n Hook and quite enjoying the shapely terpsichorean Tiger Lily and the slapstick humour ( although not necessarily in that order).

I'm prompted to put finger to iPad on this matter once more to record my feelings about the latest visit to panto land, just before Christmas when a mixed party of young'uns and we not so young'uns made our way to Woking to view the 2011 stab at (again) the Peter Pan story.

As you'll know dear reader I'm not a huge fan of the vomitous drivel that constitutes the majority of TV output. So you'll understand that I was distressed to find that I recognised none of the headline stars adorning the posters and programmes. A chap who's thespian credentials appear limited to playing a thug off that there East Enders, ("oy leave it arrrt" is apparently his mantra) and a young man from a "reality" show whose single talent appears to be the ability to say "shut up" (which, to be fair, delighted many of the youngsters in the crowd), these two, for me, nonentities, seemed to be the draw to a pantomime oft proclaimed to be one of the best in the country.

It seems evident (the loudest applause was reserved for the effeminate orange monosyllabelist from Essex) that the "tv names" are necessary to draw in the crowds but, much as I hate 'theatre dahling' I'd dearly love to see a little acting skill, some decent singers, maybe some rehearsal and some genuine comedy timing added to the panto mix.

Perhaps next year will be better, "Oh no it won't"... "Oh yes it will", ad nauseum



At 9:08 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

So, did you like it then?

At 12:02 am, Blogger Whee Gina said...

Pant-o fab-o. I haven't seen the pantomime since nineteen sixty-mumble! Tried to explain it to my little Texan children, who were unimpressed.


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