We went to the panto in Welwyn Garden City. I wasn’t too sure what to expect. It wasn’t one packed with reality TV stars or anyone “famous”, but it wasn’t an amateur one performed by the local dramatic society. It turned out to be professional actors (and some kids from a dancing school) with a reasonable budget (lots of costume changes, decent sets and a 12 foot giant (it was Jack and the Beanstalk, so that was appropriate) and it was a lot of fun.
One of the actors had broken his ankle during a performance and his character had been cut from the show - He was playing the King, which whilst not the main part, I would imagine had a significant role, including a romance with the dame, but they managed to write him out quite effectively, which was both impressive and probably a bit disappointing for the actor. There was only the odd aside from the actors about what might have happened, but they gamely pushed onwards and it didn’t spoil the show at all (again, apologies to the man with the broken ankle).
We were right in the front row as we’d booked our tickets late and so we were looking up the noses (and the Dame's skirts) a bit and in danger at being covered in confetti and sprayed with water or from being dragged on stage (though I guess in these Covid times that isn’t allowed). The worst that happened was that the villain criticised my wife’s hair (though she was wearing a hat, so I don’t think it was a serious critique). He was pretty scary and though Phoebe loved the show, at bedtime she finally admitted that she hadn’t liked him or the way he’d said he would make the fairy clean up his bogeys. The kids were really caught up in it all and even Ernie mainly stayed in his seat.
The Dame and Simple Simon were very good value and there were some topical jokes about Boris’ party and some naughty asides about the Dame’s surprise that Simon would be interested in having a girlfriend. Given this cast are doing two or three shows a day they chucked themselves into it with only comedic complaint. The kids would later talk animatedly about which costume they had preferred and which character they had liked (or had psychologically scarred them), so it was a great success from our point of view.
They do a blue version too, which must be pretty full on as the kids’ one had a good deal of rude stuff in it too.