Friday, December 21, 2012

Rhys's Twelve Days of Christmas, Day 9

Did I miss Day 8? I think I did. Could it have had something to do with the fact that I had 12 people coming to lunch and my dishwasher had died? And they didn't leave until 4 p.m. and we had to leave for the city by 5? Uhhh maybe...

Anyway today my fun Christmas trivia is going to be about Pantomime. This is a long-standing Christmas tradition in UK where the word doesn't mean the sort of walking against the wind that Marcel Marceau did. Instead it's a theatrical extravaganza for the whole family.... always a fairy tale: Cinderella, Babes in the Wood, Aladin, Dick Whittington etc. And with all kinds of strange conventions. The principal boy ( ie the hero) is always played by a gorgeous young woman in tights and a skimpy costume. There is always a dame played by a male comedian with lost of padding. There is always a villain whom the aidience boo and hiss. A fairy godmother is a lovely dress.

There is also a character with whom the audience interact, especially the children. He might ask the audience to to watch his gold while he takes a nap making the children go cracy as they try to wake him when someone comes to steal it. Of course there is always an aminal of some sort--the pantomime horse, or cow, with two people inside it. There are always lots of topical and even slightly naughty jokes for the adults and lots of songs and musical numbers. The form hasn't changed for at least a hundred years and pantomimes will be performed all over the country. Smaller versions might even be performed in homes--we've certainly done our share of them over the years with John as the fairy godmother (even when he sported a beard).

There is a family pantomime in my new book The Twelve Clues of Christmas and characters show surprising talents. They are always fun. Try one in your house this year.


  1. I love aminals and being a lover of British novels I've read a lot about Panto over the years. I'd love to have the money to cross the pond and see one in person.

    A Happy Christmas to you and your whole family.

  2. Ah, being an only child rears its ugly head again. I'd LOVE to be involved in something like this. At least I can read about it. And I can't think of a better place than The Twelve Clues of Christmas. It's a gem!