At the end of a long season the theatre provides a bit of light relief to the programme with a Panto. This usually runs from early December to early January. Set around a fairy tale these comedies bring about a great sense of fun and frivolity to the theatre. And yet there are some that don’t like them and say they are juvenile and out of date. Those people could not be further from the truth. The Panto is following in the great tradition of the Italian Commedia dell’ arte. This was where raucous street acts would create funny plays to the passersby. The idea came to Britain and became a staple of the season.
For many it is the first time we visit the theatre. What an introduction the Pantomime is! Whether it’s with a school group or with family it’s a great way to get the people hooked on live performance and not the Cinema or Television all the time. The grandness of a Panto Preston show for example is going to stay with someone forever. What is on this year at the Panto in Preston? Is a regular question asked in households in the North at this time of year in anticipation of the fun and frolics to come.
So, whilst me may not see the kind of performances that would put Gielgud or Bale into the shade we should embrace the spectacle and the spirit of the panto show. Go along, sit back and let the comedy, cheesy though it might be, take you. It is Christmas after all.