Now Christmas and all the festive celebrations are over, let's face it, January is a come down and always a bit of a damp squib; in the literal and figurative sense, in comparison. It's not an easy month to keep the little ones occupied but I do always try to have a couple of trips or outings booked in advance. There is nothing better than a Pantomime, a ridiculously British thing, that whips every child into a bellowing frenzy. I've found that watching a Pantomime has the same effect as giving your child a half a cup of sugar ... well perhaps that's just what if feels like to me. As a child, I loved being taken to the theatre and some 30 years on (oh no it isn't ... sadly, oh yes it is!), I still love a good old Panto and so, last Sunday, my brother, niece, my son and I made for Bath to watch Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal.
As always, there was some form of drama the night before. My husband and I were at a friend's birthday celebrations when my phone buzzed with the dreaded babysitter text. It turns out that my son had thrown up all over himself and his bedroom carpet in his attempts to redecorate. But after being cleaned up and put in fresh clothes he was now back in bed and fast asleep. This news did lead to a debate with my husband on the way home -will we/won't we be going to Bath? Especially as my son is not the greatest of travellers at the best of time and our current record for car sickness is four, that'll be one Audi, two BMW's and one Lexus - my son isn't fussy!! The night ended with all of us a little merrier than we had been when we had arrived and once home I was still pondering our options as I crawled into bed.
Sunday morning after a plateful of french toast - carbs for Mum to help with the dreaded hangover that was beginning to kick in; protein and a dash of sugar as an energy source for the little man after his sickness the night before. We jumped in the car to drive to Bath. The journey down was straight forward apart from being asked every 5 minutes 'were we there yet?'
On arrival in Bath, we opted for a quick pizza treat before heading to the theatre; my son was in full Panto spirit and was chanting 'pizza, pizza' at the top of his voice, as we walked into the theatre to take our seats. This wasn't really the entrance I'd anticipated and I was only hoping that the chanting would stop before Peter Pan started. My son was seemingly struck dumb as we walked into the fabulous Theatre Royal's auditorium; he had to be carefully guided to his seat, as his eyes were on stalks as he took in the surroundings and the shear number of people and children. As we sat, he became still and in an awe-like trance as he stared at the stage curtain. On the other hand, two seats down and my niece had 'ants in her pants'; she was very excited and was precariously wobbling on the edge of her seat with her father continuously repositioning her, so that she didn't loose her seating and crash to the floor.
Suddenly, a big boom and a voice came over the tannoy introducing the storyline, the curtains went up and the Panto had begun. It was just how I remembered, the hero of the story (Peter Pan), the traditional cross-gender Panto dame (Governess Gertie) and the villain (Captain Hook). It was packed with songs, slapstick comedy, dancing and of course the audience were encouraged to sing along during certain parts and shout out well-known phrases to the performers when needed such as 'look behind you' and 'oh no you didn't'. The sets were beautiful and very well done, I would have liked to have been able to share some pictures here but unfortunately, a very stern steward came storming over to me and demanded that I 'put my phone away immediately' before the show began.
Both little people thoroughly enjoyed it, my son bounced up and down clapping and laughing throughout the whole performance, waving his foam thumb about 'booing' and 'hissing' when required. Whereas, my little niece sat statuesque, completely mesmerised for the whole show.
Alas, with two overly excited children, plenty of Panto moral still coursing through their bodies, the journey was not so good going back as my son spent pretty much the majority complaining about travel sickness whilst my niece would echo unhelpful comments to his complaints. A favourite of the journey was 'Mama, I feel sick' with my niece echoing 'Oh no he doesn't'. We made it home in a little over two hours with two very tired little people who happily went to bed to dream of fairies and pixies, of flying through the night, talking dogs and all other magical things.
Overall it was a great day out and a perfect way to help lift our spirits and brighten up what is proving to be a very wet and dull January. Panto season (traditionally from December to January) is almost over but for those of you who fancy a little bit of 'look behind you' and some family comedy, there is just time to squeeze one in before they disappear for another year and at very reasonable prices.
If you don't fancy the drive across country, then there are a few shows still running within London until the end of January, see the following link: http://www.bigpantoguide.co.uk/london.php. But if you're looking for some great AMDRAM, then try a local versions. One such Panto is 'Cinderella' (http://newstagers.co.uk/cinderella) and is being played at St Anne's Hall, Wandsworth. The Panto has received an accolade of it's own, winning the NODA runner-up position for Best Panto.
I had a go and am ashamed to admit I scored 7/10, it certainly looks like I need to see some more Panto's and brush up on my knowledge.