On January 21 (a Saturday), we met up with friends Tim and Emilie, and their mothers, who were celebrating their birthdays, at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. We were going to see the panto! For those of you who are not British, and are not familiar with a panto, click on the link. It is really a British institution, and I have always wanted to see one. This particular panto was one of the more popular ones, I’m told: Cinderella.
We didn’t get any good shots of the scenery or costumes, but I can assure you that this was quite a spectacle! The costumes were very colorful (and numerous!), the sets were attractive and used to their best advantage on stage. There was a flying fairy godmother (she was very cute!), a flying horse pulling the magical pumpkin coach when Cinderella was on her way to the ball, and it even snowed in the theatre (not just on stage!). So the effects were really cool. The actors/singers/dancers were all fun (and funny!), and the show was varied, quick-paced, and enjoyable.
The popcorn was sweet. That’s the norm here.
The sound, however, was deafening! Quite literally. My ears were ringing for the rest of the day after this show. I don’t know if the sound tech had been to a few too many rock concerts or what, but it was literally painful during many parts of the show. Many times I was actually thinking to myself that my ears felt abused. All of us there felt the same, and Charlie and Flora were very put off by the loud music and loud voices during many parts of the show. WHY? Why do we need this deafening sound? Is it to mask all the noise the audience makes because people no longer know how to be respectful members of an audience? Is it because people expect the “rock concert” experience? What gives? I would have enjoyed this show a thousand times more if the sound levels could have come down a couple of notches. Too bad, really. It was so loud (and at times, a tiny bit distorted) that I didn’t even realize until halfway through the show that there was an actual band playing in a pit. I thought it was canned music. What a shame.
Other than the sound, though, I gotta say that I loved this show. The humour (at times, rather groan-inducing) was clever and current and directed at all the various age groups represented in the audience. The music wasn’t great, but I expected to hear a bunch of kinda lame homogeneous pop music, so I wasn’t disappointed. The cast was great (especially the ugly step sisters in drag!), and the level of audience participation was really fun. I wish we had this tradition in the states — what a fun thing to do at the holidays! (Next time, not so loud, please…)