Last week we started our advent calendar countdown for the kids with a trip to the Enchanted Gardens in Lewes, and this week their treat was just as magical.
One of my oldest memories was seeing The Great Soprendo perform ‘Piff Paff Poof’ on stage when I was little. I think it was part of a panto and one of the few visits I had to the theatre as a child. Now I have my own kids I have the perfect excuse to take part in this very British annual Christmas tradition.
‘He’s behind you!’
Over the last few years we have started going to Worthing Theatre rather than battle in to Brighton. Purely out of laziness and the ease of parking with the kids, it makes for a much more pleasant trip and usually costs quite a bit less.
We’ve been to either The Pavillion or The Connaught Theatre in Worthing to see Jack and The Beanstalk, Aladdin and The Wizard of Oz (which my youngest was absolutely terrified of the wicked witch in). They’ve all been produced by Paul Holman who has apparently been putting on pantomimes in Worthing for the last 18 years. Both venues are great for families as they have good cafe’s and booster seats so kids can see the stage.
Cinderella wouldn’t have been my first choice of shows as I am just not a girly girl but the panto was great. My kids loved all the amazing dancing and fantastic costumes, and even I had a little gasp when the sparkly coach appeared!
The show stars Strictly Come Dancing’s Camilla Dallerup as Fairy Godmother and Dancing on Ice’s Matt Evers as Prince Charming. Together with Cara Dudgeon as Cinderella, and Mark Read from boy band A1 as Dandini, they all dance away the night on some beautifully painted backdrops.
The pantomime tells the classic fairy tale of Cinderella without being totally aimed just at little princesses. Buttons, Baron Hardup and a representative from the Inland Revenue add a modern twist of slap stick silliness to balance out the frills and sparkle, and the ugly sisters are hilarious. Plenty of silly jokes and traditional panto pranks that our kids were rolling around in giggles at.
We all enjoyed the little ‘mistakes’ and watching Cinders father Baron Hardup swing across the stage and search frantically for missing props while the other actors laughed. The audience joined in with the pranks and singing along with songs like Uptown Funk. Any show that opens with a full cast singing Queens ‘Don’t stop me now’ is a hit with our family.
Some may say that panto is old-fashioned, but I think that’s what I like about it. Hearing the kids singing ‘do da day’ this morning while having breakfast made me smile. These are the memories of their future and I hope they will enjoy the magic of the theatre with their little ones one day.
Cinderella runs in Worthing till 3rd Jan 2016 with tickets from £10 and we are already looking forward to returning next Christmas to one of my favourite stories Peter Pan. We are also planning to check out the Cat in the Hat stage show which we caught a little of this summer at Together The People but it was so packed we missed most of it.
Are you off to a panto near you this year?