'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.
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