Wednesday, 30 December 2009

"Mummy, why is Cinderella marrying a woman?"

'Mummy, why is Cinderella marrying a woman?'
'But I thought she had a wicked stepmother and that her Father was dead.'
'Who is Buttons anyway?'
'But they're supposed to be ugly sisters, not ugly brothers.'

Hmm, yes, quite.

Remind me next time we go to a Pantomime not to read the 'real' story ten times in a row just so they know it well before they go. It only leads to confusion. Especially when you're five and three.

But despite a few, erm, storyline setbacks, our trip to see Cinderella at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing starring Todd Carty as Buttons was perhaps the biggest treat the girls have ever had. (I know, I know. We obviously lead an insular life devoid of any form of excitement whatsoever).

But seriously, in a world of television, DVD and even cinema, to actually experience singing, dancing and real-life audience interaction was so novel that for most of the performance all they could do was sit, wide-eyed in amazement.

Strangely though, and I still can't quite work out why, because I really, really wanted to enjoy it, I found it all a bit tiresome. Was it the stage-school over-acting of the leading lady? Or the long drawn-out dance scenes which seemed a tad irrelevant? Or the fact that our seats were so far from the stage that my, ahem, less than 20/20 vision couldn't appreciate the full magnificence of the stage and all its theatrics?

Like I said, I'm not really sure.

To be honest, I spent more time staring in wonder at the two girls staring in wonder at all that was going on in front of them, than I did staring at the performance itself. Their little faces were transfixed, their eyes enormous and unblinking, their hands siumltaneously gripping their red velvet seats and at the same time pointing to the villain. For five-year-old Renée, the chance to shout out 'He's behind you' was taken at every available opportunity, to such an extent that by the end of the night she could hardly speak. And when a real pony was conjured by one wave of the fairy Godmother's magic wand, I thought Renée would hyperventilate with happiness.

'Was it really magic Mummy? Did the Fairy Godmother really do that?'

For me, it was this child-like delight which was the highlight of the evening. Just to see my two little girls laughing, giggling and screaming with outrage was enough to make me want to take them back again and again.

And when the announcement came just as the curtains had finally drawn to a close that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be shown next year, it was a look of delight that filled their little faces.

'Mummy, can we come next year, pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?'

'Yes little ones, of course we can.'

I'll just have to do my very best to get seats nearer the front. Perhaps then we'll all be able to enjoy it.

This post is for The Great Panto Review 2009 hosted by the amazing Linda Jones from Have a Lovely Time. Thanks so much to Worthing Theatres for the tickets. Cinderella runs until Sunday 3rd January and tickets are priced between £12 for concessions to £36 for a family. Further details can be found on their website.

Please consider donating to NACCPO (National Alliance of Childhood cancer Parent Organisations) which is a very worthy charity supported by the Great Panto Review.


  1. Oh sweetie, welcome to the world of magical pantomimes! For me it was ALWAYS about the joy of watching the little ones becoming absolutely transported into a world of wonderful make believe. They have a memory to treasure forever!

  2. Pantos were fine when mine were younger, but when they went to the Ballet they asked (Thankfully beforehand) if they could shout during the performance...OHMYGOD!!

  3. Oh, that's lovely. Your girls are at such a lovely age for things like pantos. I've always taken my girls to the theatre since they were very small to see shows and every Christmas we go to the ballet. We started off with Bear in the Big Blue House, Noddy, etc when they were very small moving onto things like Beauty and the Beast and Chittychittybangbang as they got older. On Saturday we're going to see the stage production of The Sound of Music, can't wait.

    Frog in the Field just reminded me, when I first took The Teenager to the ballet (she was probably about 3) she watched intently for a while then said in a very loud voice "When are they going to start singing?"

    Great post, and I hope they get to see Snow White next year!

  4. Oh I love panto. And you're right, watching it through their eyes is a thing of wonder.
    Happy New Year to you, you lovely woman - here's to a good one xx

  5. I am so glad that your girls ejoyed it. My two sat through Peter Pan with a look of contempt on their faces. I have to say the stage school overacting was a bit much for me and the addition of popular songs made me wonder if Mrs Darling really would have known the words to Take That. Captain Hook was great and saved the day but I think that I have a pair of cynical, jaded children. I remember clapping the hardest I ever clapped to save Tinkerbell and I think that Lucy (nearly 3) just didn't think the flashing light was a fairy. Such shame. Next year I am taking them to London.

  6. Well you make it sound fantastic but I'll opt to stay in and watch the telly!! It's great that the girls enjoyed it so much and I can imagine the pleasure you received by their lovely faces.

    CJ xx

  7. Thank you for this blog which made me smile a great deal and for all your blogs in 2009. I always look forward to your insightful comment, honesty and of course fantastic humour. Wishing you a super new year and here's to a fun filled blogging time in 2010.

  8. Yours are at the perfect age for wonderment at the strange British custom of Panto....we always go and, even though I usually grumble about forking out a fortune for the tickets for something I don't really want to see, I always end up shouting 'it's behind you' with the rest of the kids! It was even better this year as my 10 year old was a dancer in it!! Happy new year

  9. Totally worth it for their reaction alone. I must say, I'm not a huge panto fan myself but I think my kiddies would adore it. Maybe they should sell childrens' seats facing the stage and parents' seats facing the children so we can enjoy the performance through their eyes! Xx

  10. Wow... I totally forgot to buy panto tickets this year. Spud has seen three stage performances and loved them all - a massive Thomas On Stage performance, Alice in the Park and a puppet show so all different but all received with open eyes and mouth. You've made me really want to take him to more things. Happy New Year!

  11. Glorious!
    I read it. Then I read it again. Then I read it once more.
    The fun you have with your kids!
    I really must get some of my own.

  12. Sounds fun! I can understand the highlight being the looks on your girls' faces. Can't wait to take my two to something "live".

  13. That's the funny thing about pantomimes - the anticipation is always better than the reality, at least for adults. But magical for children.

  14. Sounds great! We went to the Nottingham Playhouse, as you know. I explained to my six-year-old that the dame is actually a man but she refused to believe me and looked at me as if I was clearly mad!

  15. I miss Panto!!!!!!!

  16. Brighton Mum - Yes, you see - I had no idea. I thought I was going to love it as much as them! How could I have been so naive? Well, very easily it seems. But yes, was too cute for words. Can't wait for next year now!

    Frog - Oh hilarious - now that would have been funny, or not - obviously for you if they had have shouted!! Will bear that in mind though if I ever take the girls to the ballet. Of course knowing my luck, they'll do just that. Hmmmm....

    Notsupermum - Ooh how exciting - strangely enough I've never even thought about taking them to the ballet - but I went when I was younger so I'm not sure why I haven't thought about it yet. But I think they'd love it (at least teh 5 year-old would). Right, thanks for the advice. How was The Sound of Music? Hope you all had a wonderful time x

    Selina - No, no, not me - you're the lovely woman ;-)). Thanks honey. Yep, the girlies loved it, so I was happy too. Didn't matter that it was yawnsome. Here's to a fab 2010 for all of us xxx

    Charlotte - Yes, I definitley think the production quality makes a difference - even to a 3 and 5 year old! Sorry that they didn't quite enjoy it as much as my two. Do youthink they get their cynicism from their Father? ;-) xx

  17. CJ - Oh I know. I think I'd rather stay in and watch the telly too - especially since it's bloody freezing out there right now. But, you know, I'm such a martyr to the cause! I'll do anything to make my children happy...*cough*

    Anonymous - Thank you for such a lovely comment, but who are you?!! I need to know, especially since you obviously read the blog alot! Thank you... And yes, here's to a fantastic 2010 for everyone x

    Diney - ooh how exciting for you - that must have been fantatsic. Except hold on, I remeber reading about her falling off the stage!! Yes, it was definitley her! Hope she's recovered. But yes, is amazing to witness their wonder. Love it.

    Mamma Po - Ooh yes, good idea sweetie - then I wouldn't have had to crane my neck in such a horribly uncomfortable way. But yes, definitely worth it to make the children happy and to witness their reaction. I recommend it for your two next year x

    Sparx - Happy New Year to you too sweetie. And yes, it's truly amazing how much fun they have at live performances. Now I've realised that I won't just wait until Christmas either - I'll definitely try to do more with them. So sweet.

  18. Freddo - Hee hee - now I'm not sure whether to take you seriously or not! Three times you say? Bless you, but it wasn't that good!! But yes, if you borrow someone else's children, it's just not the same...

    Lady Mama - Oh yes, do it. It's so worth it x

    Gail - Yes - I'm only just learning that! I did go once as an adult, before I had children and I remember loving it, so I was a bit disappointed that it didn't live up to my memories. But yes, the girls adored it. And I'm a big girl now, so I'll get over my disappointment. One day!

    Rosie - Such a weird custom isn't it? I didn't need to point it out to Renée though - Prince Charming had a pony tail!!! Was very strange. Not sure the 3 year old noticed though - or at least she didn't comment on it - she was far too busy playing with her fairy wand!

    Private blog - Oh it's such a British thing - but then I'd trade your sunshine (even when it's too hot in July) for Panto. Really - you can have it! xxx

  19. Personally i'm not a fan of pantomines. I find them rather tacky and oh so predictable. But of the few i have been to i have thouroughly enjoyed them - not because i enjoyed the performance, but because i enjoyed the atmosphere of all the children that surrounded me giggling and beaming with the hugest smiles i have ever seen.

    All children should be able to experience this kind of magic, as that in itself, is magical to me.

  20. Aw lovely! I know what you mean about watching their reactions to things like this! I took SC to see Angelina Ballerina last year and she LOVED it so I think a panto will be the order of the day next year. She asked if she could get up on stage and dance with the giant mice! theres a tag for you at mine lovely if you want to play along xxx

  21. Kelly - yep, totally agree. Am not the biggest fan of panto either, and I would never choose to go on my own, but it really was worth going just to see the children's reactions.

    That Girl - I know - Renée really wanted to get up on stage too and was gutted when they chose two other children (we were too far back to be noticed unfortunately). Thansk for the tag sweet lady - have done it xx