Saturday, February 24, 2007

He's Behind You!

Thursday night, I went to Pakenham to see Sandy in the village panto. They were doing Dick Turpin. In the spirit of all village pantos, Sandy was fantastic, a tree (prop) fell over, there was much forgetting of lines, and the audience got WAY too into singing the policemen's siren whenever the two cops (with battery-operated flashing blue lights on their hats) came on stage.

From wikipedia:
The form has a number of conventions.

* The leading male character (the "principal boy") is usually played by a young woman (although this tradition appears to be dying out).
* An older woman (the pantomime dame) is usually played by a man in drag.
* Risqué double entendre, often wringing innuendo out of perfectly innocent phrases.
* Audience participation, including calls of "look behind you!" (or "he's behind you!"), and "oh yes it is!" or "oh no it isn't!" The audience is always encouraged to "boo" and "hiss" the villain.
* A song combining a well-known tune with re-written lyrics. The audience is encouraged to sing the song; often one half of the audience is challenged to sing "their" chorus louder than the other half.
* The pantomime horse or cow, played by two actors in a single costume, one as the head and front legs, the other as the body and back legs.
* The good fairy always enters from the right side of the stage and the evil villain enters from the left. In Commedia Dell 'Arte the right side of the stage symbolized Heaven and the left side symbolized Hell.
* The members of the cast throw out sweets to the children in the audience

We always went to pantos when we lived in Peterborough - I remember thinking that they were pretty neat.

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