It’s official! Christmas is coming up fast. And that, of course, means it’s pantomime season. How do you choose which of the biggies to see this year? Why choose? See the seven (or maybe twelve) top pantomimes in one hilarious show care of Potted Panto.
Though I’ve lived in London for over twenty years, I have to admit that, as an American, I still don’t really ‘get’ pantomime. I understand, of course, that it’s quintessentially British, provides some of the year’s best employment for scores of my actor friends and is the first experience of theatre for most children in this country. But, sorry, I still have no strong desire to actually sit through a pantomime, at Christmas or any other time of year.
The exception is Potted Panto. In this delicious Olivier Award-nominated, family-friendly comedy, Dan and Jeff (also the co-creators of global hit Potted Potter) race through the top panto perennials – Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Aladdin… plus other more contentious titles – while also demonstrating the form’s traditions baked into the country’s DNA.
There’s something even more special about seeing Potted Panto at a matinee full of children, loudly enjoying themselves and embracing their audience interaction duties with glee. “He’s behind you”, a cheesy Christmas song, candy tosses, a wild carriage ride, a fairy god-chicken and more. Is it hilarious? “Oh yes it is!”
For my post-show Q&A, I was joined by co-writers and stars Dan and Jeff – a.k.a Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner – as well as their fellow company members Jacob Jackson and Charlotte Payne, who make cameo appearances while also managing all of the show’s myriad props and quick costume changes backstage. Watch in full for adorable questions and comments from our younger theatregoers… plus interjections from A Christmas Carol‘s Tiny Tim.
Potted Panto runs at London’s Southwark Playhouse until 11 January 2011. For ages 3+.