By Takashi Kitano, First year, Social and Cultural Theory
Pantomime has finally returned to the Bristol Hippodrome. The warmth and enthusiasm of Snow White is sure to take audiences into Christmas singing and dancing.
With deadlines round the corner, my mind seeks some light entertainment. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - the fairest Panto in the land, premiered at the Bristol Hippodrome on December 4, and will run until January 2.
Many Bristolians have been waiting a long time for this festive moment. Due to the pandemic and related restrictions, most of the theatres across the UK had to heartbreakingly cancel their shows last winter. This high anticipation was indicated by the 50 metre long queue of couples and families waiting to enter the theatre.
It is the comedic nature that makes panto distinct from a musical. From the opening introduction from each character, a clamour of laughter was generated, with a variety of jokes from slapstick to satire. To be honest, some jokes didn’t make sense to me, partly because I am a foreigner and not aware of some specific references. Nevertheless, it was fairly enjoyable since it offered an atmosphere of laughter.
The greatest contributor to this was Andy Ford as Muddles, who always showed up with a call and response - ‘Alright Bristol!’ - ‘Alright Muddles!’. The well-known entertainer is particularly familiar among panto fans in Bristol, with this being his ninth appearance. One of the highlights was during the frantic '12 Days of Christmas' singsong, when he accidentally took off the wig of Queen Dragonella, played by Lesley Joseph.
Not limited to humour, other elements of the production delighted the spectators. The excellent chorus, clad in stunningly glitzy costumes, urged the audience to sing together and clap their hands to catchy music. The set included pretty winter backdrops and a huge red-eyed black dragon, with exciting use of pyrotechnics adding flare.
From my perspective, what made the production special was the recurrent interaction between actors and audiences. The booing and hissing, cheering, and other traditional chants, such as ‘Oh no you don’t!’ and ‘It's behind you!’, took place so frequently and enthusiastically, not only from kids but also adults. Such a mutual engagement created a warm atmosphere inside the venue.
Featured Image: Paolo Chiabrando | Unsplash
Will you be heading to the panto this year?