December 6, 2013, by Eve
Bloke in a Dress
Christmas season is panto season. Panto is like a mash up of a cheesy children’s TV programme and a sexiless cabaret show. Its primary audience is, obviously, children and parents – appealing to students isn’t really taken into consideration. However, I actually rather enjoyed Jack and the Beanstalk at the Nottingham Playhouse!
I went on the press night last Saturday – oh yes, complementary ticket provided or rather ‘comp’ as they call them in the business (or rather ‘biz’). Without the comp I’d be paying £21, at the cheapest – another reason pantos aren’t likely to attract a large number of students.
The atmosphere was that of school show: friends and parents ecstatically chatting about their friendly neighbourhood celebs. I felt like a mere exchange student – she doesn’t even go here! – and ended up watching the audience’s excitement with as much interest as I did the performance.
The last time I saw a panto I was seven or eight. It was Aladdin and I won a prize which meant I was allowed to go on stage to water a felt plant – which grew. Just like magic!
So I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – all I remembered from my previous experience was the dames’ excessive costumes changes. On that front, at least, I was prepared for the multitude of fantastically ridiculous costumes – the Dame Daisy himself had about nine costume changes: my favourite being his garden dress which was complete with flower-pot breasts.
The whole play was one sketch after another. From slapstick pies to dancing rabbits. Yep, the chorus came on in full fluffy rabbit costumes and proceeded to tap dance. It was all like a very odd dream.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the music selection: Bang Bang and What Does the Fox Say? When I spoke to Dame Daisy afterwards he said the latter was a ridiculous song and he’d never heard of it before the show. He hinted that the Playhouse’s artistic director might want to make a play out of it – so stay tuned on that account…
It was an interesting evening and, after my complementary glass of wine in the press reception, I felt quite contented as a bused my way home.
If you’ve never been to a panto before I certainly recommend the experience. Particularly if you want to see two rather senior blokes in dresses doing four encores of ‘a-yep-yep-yep-yep’.
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