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No.39 Christmas Panto or A Spot of Bother at the North Pole.

***Please note that I am using a standard thumbnail image for all the full size pictures on this page. This is purely being done to save myself sometime.***

© Adrian Banfield
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Story Notes

So, how to describe a panto or pantomime to a non-British audience? Mmm. A panto is performed in a theatre over the Christmas period. Two or three male actors dress up as women in spectacular, lavish costumes and a female dresses as the male hero. Plays are based on fairy tales such as Robin Hood, Cinderella, Ali Baba, Aladdin, Puss in Boots and so on.

The play includes slapstick where an actor(s) usually gets drenched in water, audience participation (audience - he’s behind you; actor – oh no he isn’t), jokes in the form of puns and other word play usually aimed at children, songs and so on.

In essence it’s a well produced lot of fun and silliness. And if you arrived at the theatre in a bad mood, hopefully everyone leaves the theatre in a good mood. And it is a great British tradition. Panto’s these days also attract many TV and film stars.

So probably everything my story isn’t.

A better description might be the one I found at the What’s On Stage website –

Be set in a romanticised vision of the local community, celebrated in song by a chorus of townspeople.
See love triumph and villains redeemed.
Have its villain enter from stage-left, and its hero from stage-right.
Feature original songs and parodies of the popular songs of the day, and a singalong with
Contain slapstick.
Revel in double entendre.
Challenge the audience into call and response with the characters.
Feature a dame, which is a man in matronly drag who makes risqué jokes and throws sweets into the audience.
Allow the actors to acknowledge the audience's presence whilst remaining in danger within the story.
At some point, bring a child from the audience on stage.

I would love to be able to say that all of the jokes are ones I made up, but sadly I can't. They were all 'borrowed' from various websites. Except the ramblings of Gruffy who played the narrator. These thoughts occurred to me as I was writing the script.

A. J. Rapper and Ardal Branflakes are names that my work colleagues have thought up for me over the years. The printable ones that is! (Tch, youngsters today, hey).

The biscuit tin joke on page nine of this story refers to brands of biscuits that are sold here in the United Kingdom.

I added Miles Vain to the script at the last minute. I hadn't envisaged using this character again so soon, but he wrote himself into the script.

Seasons Greetings to all readers of The Guard.

Behind the scenes

© Adrian Banfield
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Green Lion Comics, story and characters © Adrian Banfield, 2016.