Theatre goers are a dying breed. Gone are the days of dressing up to see the latest play or musical, replaced instead initially by films, and more recently by all manner of grotesque social media exploits and the destruction of humanity that is the internet.
But there is still a flicker once a year of the big red curtains draping over the stage…
It’s a word that sends the fear of corny, cheesy sickly sweet chills through all of us yet seemingly, we can’t give it up. It’s as though Pantomime has become a sticky sweet drug that holds all manner of festive cheer together in all of us, and packs out theatres all over the country.
I myself used to hate them. As a child I simply couldn’t understand why the man dressed as a woman on stage couldn’t understand the simple point that ‘IT’S BEHIND YOU!’ This could have been down to my serious nature with such things as a child, which I quickly shook off with wine and moaning by my decent into adulthood.
It seems however that now, at my grad age of 20, that Pantomimes have once again grown on me. They seem to be one of those things in life that is so incredibly awful it’s brilliant – sort of like Ed Miliband eating a sandwich.
Despite this new found festive fondness for such shows, they are so incredibly expensive that my poor old student self can’t afford to go, let alone a large family. With tickets costing around £20 per person, it’s hard to rationalise spending that sort of money on a whimsical couple of hours shouting at people who used to be famous.
I find myself wondering why it is that this is the case. If theatre big-wigs want to encourage younger people into their establishments, then why not make the tickets cheaper? If children look forward to these shows every year, then they might begin to show an interest in other shows going on too.
So, theatre Gods, please here my cry, make ticket prices affordable for all and maybe we can keep the cultural necessity of local theatres alive for many years to come, and can continue to shout commands at people who used to be on the X Factor once a year at Christmas time – Amen.