Pantomime is a peculiarly British form of theatrical entertainment. It is a musical comedy that includes songs, dancing, slapstick humour and cross dressing with a story loosely based on a popular fairy story, that is traditionally performed around Christmas time.
Modern pantomime follows a pretty tried and tested formula. The leading juvenile male character - the principle boy - is always played by a girl in tights and there is always an older woman called the Dame, played by a man in drag. There is usually a fairy of some description plus a baddie who always gets defeated and turns good in the end. There are often explosions and chases and the whole thing relies heavily on audience participation with plenty of calling out and singing along.
Our village Amateur Dramatic society nearly always stages a pantomime in February and this year is no exception. We are lucky enough to have had a pantomime specially written for us by local author Sarah Harrison, who is also directing the show. It is a fabulous adaptation of the Little Red Riding Hood story called "Red Riding Hoodie" and is packed full of music and mayhem.
As usual I have been involved in helping with the costumes and have been having great fun putting together an outfit for our dame... Red Riding Hoodie's Grandma of course! A great chance to go mad with plenty of colour and oversize frills and bows.
But more unusually for me, this year I am actually in the pantomime. It's not the first time (I've been known to play the priciple boy in the days when I didn't mind showing off my legs) but it has been quite a while...I play the local barmaid...
... and I'm having so much fun! Off to another rehearsal tonight... only a couple of weeks to go!