Hey, American, if you’re like me and think “pantomime” is how the Smiths used to perform on Top of the Pops, lemme learn you something:
Pantomime in Britain (usually called Panto) is a peculiarly British tradition of winter musical comedy theater. It has nothing to do with mime – silent performers in white-face make up walking into glass or doing Marcel Marceau-type physical comedy.
British pantomime takes familiar fairy tales and children’s stories – Cinderella, Aladdin, Dick Whittington and His Cat, Snow White – and injects a bit of music hall (British Vaudeville) sensibility, contemporary references and audience participation to create a raucous, noisy entertainment that’s fun for everyone in the family.
Sounds awful, right? Could you imagine trying to sit through that? Now try to imagine sitting through it as you sweat crack. Now you understand why Amy Winehouse continually interrupted the performance of Cinderella by screaming out, “Where’s Prince Charming, where is he?” and “He’s behind you!” When the manager asked her to please stop screaming, she kicked him in the groin. Cue assault charge.
Here’s the kind of pantomime Amy Winehouse enhanced with her yelling:
And here’s the awesome kind of pantomime: