Sunday, 4 January 2009
Jack and the Beanstalk
Donny and Mel are 9 today. That's pretty cool. I don't know where the time has gone. Surely it was only last summer they went to school and the winter before that they were running around in nappies? I guess not. They have grown, and they do indeed look and sound very grown up these days.
So, they opened their presents early this morning, then waited for Grandma to arrive. The real treat of today was a trip to the pantomime to see Jack and the Beanstalk. Pantomime is a typically English sort of comic theatre, that must seem totally bizarre to the uninitiated.
How can I describe it? Pantomime is usually based on a fairytale, such as Cinderella or Puss in Boots. The plot is almost incidental to the show, and only has to hang together loosely enough for the leading lady to fall in love with the principal boy (who is often acted by a girl anyway). There is always a pantomime dame, who is played by a middle-aged and sometimes unshaven man. (Nick was once one of the ugly sisters in a panto we did years ago. He had a beard at the time.) The cast is not complete without the pantomime horse (cow, donkey, camel, whatever) which involves two very good friends inside one costume.
The show is based on audience participation: We cheer the Fairy Godmother, boo and hiss at the baddie, and sympathise when the hero is down on his luck. There are always opportunities to shout "He's behind you!" and "Oh no he didn't" repeatedly, as well as a bit of a sing-song or other competition involving the whole of the audience. There's usually a slapstick element to the comedy, and no pantomime is complete without someone getting covered in custard pies or similar gunk. If you've never been, you should book your tickets now.
So Jack and the Beanstalk it was, though typically it bore only a passing resemblance to the original tale. Fairy Cake had lost her magic; Princess Cupcake got kidnapped by Baron Wasteland (say it out loud); the giant was on Jack's side and Jack could only rescue the Princess from the top of the beanstalk with the help of his eccentric panto-dame mother (Mrs Cherry Sponge) and the love of her life - Chunk, the hired help from the dairy (cue panto-cow). Don't worry if none of this makes sense. You had to be there.
Jack and the Princess got married, and so did Mrs Sponge and Chunk, thus renaming the blushing bride Mrs Cherry Chunk (see pic - yes that is a large cherry on 'her' head). And a good time was had by all.
We stopped at the OK Diner for dinner on the way home, and the kids are now snuggled up in bed. I'd better go and prepare for the joys the morning will bring.