Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Yes, last weekend the wife and I took our little boy and his cousin to their first panto, Aladdin at the Central Theatre in Chatham.
It was the first panto I had been to since I was a kid and I must say it hasn't lost it's magic!
The cast, which included Shaun Williamson (a.k.a. ex Eastender Barry), George Takei (Mr Sulu from Star Trek) and Phil Gallagher (a.k.a. Mr Maker) put on a very enthusiastic performance.
All the tried and tested ingredients for a traditional British pantomime were there....
The over the top Dame, the corny jokes for the kids, a little bit of inuendo for the grown ups, a few gags with a local slant (mostly at the expense of Gillingham FC), topical jokes about the X-Factor and lots of slapstick and most importantly, plenty of audience participation.
For those readers outside the UK, you are probably wondering what the hell I am going on about!
Here in Great Britain, pantomime (often referred to as panto) is a form of entertainment, traditionally performed during the Christmas season.
Pantos are performed in most cities and towns throughout the UK at this time of year.
British pantomime can trace it's origins back to the middle ages and has constantly evolved, incorporating the traditions of the Italian "Commedia dell’ Arte, the Italian night scenes and British Music hall.
For more in depth information on the origins of panto, please see here.
Aladdin was first performed in the UK in 1788.
If you are interested in seeing a pantomime in Kent, there is still time.
Here is a list of some of the venues and performances....
Aladdin The Central Theatre, 170 High Street, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4AS
11th Dec 2009 to 3rd Jan 2010. Website http://www.medwaypanto.co.uk/
Sleeping Beauty Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1HA
4th Dec 2009 to 17th Jan 2010. Website http://www.theambassadors.com/churchill/
Cinderella The Orchard, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent DA1 1ED
5th Dec 2009 to 10th Jan 2010. Website http://www.orchardtheatre.co.uk/
Dick Whittington Stag Theatre, London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1ZZ
12th Dec 2009 to 2nd Jan 2010. Website http://www.sevenoakspanto.com/
Peter Pan Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2LU
12th Dec 2009 to 3rd Jan 2010. Website http://www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk/
Cinderella The Britannia Theatre, Dickens World, Leviathan Way, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4LL
12th Dec 2009 to 3rd Jan 2010. Website http://www.dickensworld.co.uk/
Meet and greet Cinderella Bewl Water Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 8JH
27th Dec 2009 to 4th Jan 2010. Website http://www.bewl.co.uk/
Aladdin The Tower Theatre, North Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3DH
1st Jan 2010 to 10th Jan 2010. Website http://towertheatrefolkestone.co.uk/
Aladdin Kings Hall, East Cliff Parade, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5HU
7th Jan 2010 to 10th Jan 2010. Website http://www.theatrecraft.org.uk/
Little Red Riding Hood Dover Town Hall, Biggin Street, Dover, Kent
12th Jan 2010 to 16th Jan 2010. Tel: 01304 240477
Jack and the Beanstalk Whitstable Playhouse, 104 High Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3NY 19th Jan 2010 to 30th Jan 2010. Website http://www.theplayhousewhitstable.co.uk/
Robin Hood and his Merry Men Stag Community Arts Centre, London Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 1ZZ
28th Jan 2010 to 31st Jan 2010. Website http://www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk/
Please feel free to leave a comment. They are always welcome.