Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh Yes We Did!

Bradford looked very dark and gloomy against the snow. It's a city made mostly of stone, a lot of it Victorian and covered in years of grime, and it never - to me at least - presents a very jolly front. I assoicate it with interesting work in the old hospitals and then a tedious trek back to Leeds in rush-hour traffic afterwards.

But today we were off to the pantomime with Gareth's delightful sister Jo and her excellent fiance Ian. Olli and Gareth will go another time - they were busy with some kind of Snowfest in York.

My friend Jay Worthy was an Ugly Sister in Cinderella at Bradford Alhambra Theatre last year, and we loved it, so we were back to see him as the Giant's henchman Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk.

As with last year - - and lots of years - - the pantomime starred Billy Pearce as Jack - - or Buttons - - or whatever that loveable-lad-seeking-girlfriend role is in any particular pantomime.

He's a seasoned Panto Man and knows how to warm up an audience in about three seconds flat. We were, of course, ready to be warmed up and to shout "Hiya Jack" whenever he came onstage.

Big spectacular pantos - as this was - work best when they're not built around some telly star who's never set foot on a stage, and that was most certainly the case here. All the leading cast were proper panto actors - who can all sing, dance, ad-lib and cope with anything that's thrown at them.

I hate it in pantos when members of the audience are humiliated and that didn't happen here. Okay, a bloke in a box was greeted with the line "hey, you've spent all day doing your hair and then you forgot to bring it with you!" But it was all very good-humoured. At one point we were given giant snowballs to throw around - some the size of beach balls, some absolutely massive - and, as an audience, we were in heaven.

In fact, we were in heaven all the way through - it held everyone's attention from the little children to the grandparents. It was excitingly scary - but never too much! - and very spectacular, with magic tricks, circus performers and - er - a real cow which seemed completely unfazed by the bustle around it.

I know that panto is a genre that's peculiarly British and hence rather hard to explain to people from abroad - if that's you, I so wish I could take you to see this one! It says a lot about the British character - - we like humour (and a bit of seaside-postcard Smut! - "I've made a terrible mistake, as the Dalek said as he got off the dustbin" was one example that I rather liked) song and dance, spectacle, baddies to boo, heroes to cheer and lots of costume changes and colour to warm us up in the dull British winter.

Grateful thanks to Jay and to all involved. There's an excellent review of it here. If you've never seen a pantomime, and you're anywhere near Bradford, you should go and see this one. And if you've seen lots of pantomimes, and think you're hard to impress - - well, you should go and see this one.

You might find it hard to get a ticket, mind. It was packed. It deserved to be.


Blogger Silverback said...

Glad you all enjoyed it. Oh yes you did.

For even venturing out in that weather wot you are 'aving, never mind going to Bradford, you derserve an award.

Oh wait......

9:56 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I may be a bit thick but I don't get the Dalek and dustbin joke you mentioned. Could you just explain it in clear detail - as if to an imbecile?
Verification = dumingas

11:03 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

For once, I agree with Yorkshire Pudding. I didn't get the joke either. Or why it qualifies as "seaside smut"....

12:28 am  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

NIce to see you ventured here from Leeds. I hate pantos but I did get the Dalek joke!

9:27 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

No, sorry, I didn't get the dalek joke either.

11:19 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Now look, all you poor people who haven't been reared on British Postcard Smut, let me explain. A Dalek is a creature from the television series Dr Who. It glides around and says things like "EX-TER-MIN-ATE" in a roboty voice. It looks a bit like a dustbin on wheels with an antenna on the front. So it's perfectly possible that a rather short-sighted Dalek could mistake a dustbin for an attractive Dalek of the opposite Dalek gender. Or even of the same gender, if it was that way inclined. I hope that this is sufficient explanation because you ain't getting no more!
WendyCarole - I'm glad you understood it, my faith in British Smut is restored!
Silverback - I notice you didn't even PRETEND not to understand it. That's the spirit!

9:35 am  

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