In Praise of Panto

The British tradition of Pantomime has evolved from its roots in the 16th century. There’s a paen of praise to Panto penned by Simon Callow in today’s Guardian – well worth reading.
He mentions in passing the production of Aladdin performed at the Stratford East theatre, and designed by Ultz. This must have been in the late 1970s. Oh, yes, I remember that – it was a relevation as to what was possible with stage design. Like Callow, I shall never forget the field of cabbages – or the visual jokes played by the kuroko – which in itself was a delicious joke to introduce an element of kabuki into a traditional British pantomime.
A few years back, I took Martin (who’s Dutch) to see his first-ever pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas. He enjoyed it, but was completely mystified by the bits of business ("he’s behind you", "oh no, he didn’t!", "oh yes he did", etc. etc.). For me, I was glad to see the traditions being carried forward, and remembered sitting in the stalls as a small child absolutely entranced at the magic of it all.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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