One of the many rituals of a British Christmas is a trip to the Pantomime - particularly if you have children in your party.
I was thinking that no explanation would be necessary but the Wikipedia article on pantomime or panto seems to imply its mostly a British and ex-pat plus a few ex colonies like Australia that have experienced this unique music theatre event.
Pantomime is most definitely nothing to do with mime but a starts with a traditional tale like Cinderella, Aladdin or Dick Wittington. The story is usually simplified and then told with a mixture of song and dance, with added dollops of slap-stick and a heavy dose of double-entendres.
A key part is audience participation with calls of "behind you" or "oh no it isn't" nearly guaranteed together with a sing-along where left and right sides of the audience compete.
One of the other conventions is that of the Pantomime Dame which is a bloke. We saw Peter Pan and the fairy was not Tinkerbell but Tinkerbelly, a rather fat man in a bizarre pink outfit.
At the top is a video of the cast including Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinkerbelly. While the show did involve pirates and mermaids it must be admitted that this wasn't the Marlow Theatre's greatest hour, but the kids enjoyed it. It didn't help that as the theatre is being re-developed the show was moved to a temporary circus like tent in a nearby site.
Often this is a chance for TV soap stars to earn a little extra and this can include Australian favourites like Neighbours, but all we had was Adrian Edmondson from The Young Ones as Captain Hook.
Oh well, maybe it will be better next time.
As we filed out a new crowd was turning up for the next show - roll up roll up and keep them coming, for the show must go on.