Yesterday, my girls had their first experience of a traditional British Pantomime. The AATG theatre group in The Hague, the Netherlands has been performing these for over 30 years. It’s a wonderful opportunity for expats as well as “local Dutchies” to experience the fun of this British tradition. I’d been to one many years ago when I was living in the UK, but this was the first time I had the chance to enjoy it with my children, who are aged 6 & 8. I tried to explain it to them beforehand: a theatre show but it’s a lot of fun where you get to shout stuff like “he’s behind you” and “no he’s not”. Wikipedia gives an interesting list of “Pantomime Conventions” here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime which might have also been handy to tell them a little more beforehand, but it was also fun for them to just totally discover it themselves.
Held at the gorgeous Koninklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre) in The Hague, we were in the 2nd row from the back in the balcony. At first I was concerned we wouldn’t feel “part of the action” up there but it was fine. The girls completely got into the whole shouting thing right from the beginning. I think they were secretly thrilled they didn’t have to just sit still and watch!
Here’s an interview with my daughters during the interval:
We had friends who were in the chorus and it was fun spotting them on stage. In the interval, we happened to walk by the stage door when my friend came out, and the girls got to see a peek “behind the scenes” where the child actors were chilling out. This had a big impression and afterwards they wanted to hang around the stage door for another look! They were excited to meet some of the actors afterwards.
Have you ever taken your kids to a Pantomime? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Renee
Below is the text from AATG about the performance (used with permission):
‘If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise.
If you go down the woods today,
You’re in for a big surprise!’
Our story opens in the traditional pantomime village during the annual fair. The village is a place where everyone lives a blissful, happy existence, smiling and laughing all the time. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is a place undisturbed by fiscal and international uncertainties, potential Grexits and stock market fluctuations…up until now at least!
Our heroine, Tamara, and her father, a successful businessman, enjoy life, despite her mother having disappeared in mysterious circumstances some years before. But some disturbing news may upset their comfortable lifestyle.
And love is in the air as Gilbert, a man so vain he goes to sleep cuddling a mirror, has decided that he will choose a wife. Sadly for Gilbert, the target of his affection, Tamara, doesn’t want that honour.
Will Gilbert, together with his two sidekicks, Topsy and Turvy, persuade Tamara to become his wife? Will the economic crisis finally affect the good people in the village? Will we discover whether pigs can really fly?
And don’t forget those silly stories of a horrible, terrifying, blood curdlingly scary beast in the ‘FORBIDDEN FOREST’. But of course nobody believes such ridiculous tales…they must be made up…or are they?
Come to the AATG Pantomime of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and find out!
With songs, dances and lots of jokes, this is a fun filled family friendly show guaranteed to amuse the youngest to the oldest.