Pantomime and Cinema: The Two Columbines (Harold Shaw, 1914)

I’ve written before about the way in which pantomime is used in cinema, not as material for adaptation, but to evoke a specific mood or set of meanings. The Two Columbines is a good example of this. It was made by Harold Shaw for the London Film Co. in 1914. Shaw was an American film-maker … Continue reading Pantomime and Cinema: The Two Columbines (Harold Shaw, 1914)

Pantomime Review: ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Thameside Theatre, Grays

  I’m not going to lie to you. I didn’t have great expectations for this pantomime. I mean, where is Grays anyway? A mate on social media cruelly suggested that it only exists so that people from Gravesend can feel superior to somewhere. Turns out its part of Thurrock, which is a key marginal in … Continue reading Pantomime Review: ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Thameside Theatre, Grays

A Glasgow Pantomime: Sleeping Beauty at the Britannia Panopticon

Glasgow is a city of pantomimes. Just in this one place you can see not one but two big shows from chain behemoth Qdos (Jack and the Beanstalk at the King’s Theatre and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the gargantuan auditorium at the SECC) as well as two independent professional productions (Pinocchio at … Continue reading A Glasgow Pantomime: Sleeping Beauty at the Britannia Panopticon

On Being Pulled Up Onto the Stage in the Pantomime

Men should be afraid. Men in the stalls should be very afraid. Bald men in the stalls near an aisle should be Very Afraid Indeed. Most of the time, men (unlike women) have nothing to fear from the theatre. But not at pantomime time. For at any moment in the pantomime, somebody onstage can peer … Continue reading On Being Pulled Up Onto the Stage in the Pantomime

Pantomime and Cinema: Gracie Fields as Dick Whittington in ‘The Show Goes On’ (1937)

By chance I was watching Gracie Fields in The Show Goes On (Basil Dean, 1937) last week, and was delighted to see that it opens with a sequence showing the final moments of a production of Dick Whittington in the heroine's local theatre in 'Hindlebury'... There aren’t any full length feature film versions of pantomimes … Continue reading Pantomime and Cinema: Gracie Fields as Dick Whittington in ‘The Show Goes On’ (1937)

Pantomime and Television: ‘Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp’ (1966) at the BFI Southbank

‘…this is a splendid snapshot of a moment where old theatre traditions were under threat from the power of television’ BFI Programme Notes. I’ve always thought panto on television was a bit of a weird idea. Panto is such a quintessentially theatrical experience – what with the calling out from the audience, the getting up on stage, … Continue reading Pantomime and Television: ‘Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp’ (1966) at the BFI Southbank