Friday, December 05, 2008

Panto Anyone?

Alexis Soloski, a New York critic writing on the Guardian Arts Blog, is seasonally green with envy over the dearth of Christmas Panto in New York City.

Instead, each December brings a variety of performances that tend toward either the mawkishly sentimental or the ferociously unfunny.

A sampling of this year's coal in the stocking: a one-man-show version of It's a Wonderful Life, making its ninth annual appearance; Naked Holidays NYC, a programme of short plays in which no nudity occurs; Home For the Holidays, your chance to "join the Tuckaberries in singing, jigging, and juggling as they try to soften Granny's Grinchy attitude and help her get into the holiday spirit"; Blizzard the Wizard; Simon Green Sings Coward at Christmas; The St Ignatius First Annual Hannukah Pageant; and Playing Dreidl with Judah Maccabee, a drama about a game only marginally more involving than curling.

Like a snowflake, each is unique. Unlike a snowflake, all seem horrid. Should any appeal, do keep in mind that they're all extravagantly low-budget, as in please-God-let-the-theatre-have-a-space-heater-or-two low-budget. That's fine most of the year, but around Christmas one wants a dollop of glitter and tinsel.


George Hunka said...

The only things I know about British Christmas panto I learned from the episode of "Extras" that featured poor Andy in some dreadful, ill-attended Christmas spectacular, but even so, this particular form of theatre has always been to me something on the level of Weetabix and clotted cream -- unique to British culture and even pleasurable to some, I know, but its appeal has always escaped me. Grinch that I am.

Art said...

I am not that familar, first hand, with Christmas panto either.

Here in Boston, we are very fortunate enough to get some wacky christmas fun through Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans.

Their Christmas creations, (indeed, all of their creations,) are over the top, hilariously funny, outrageously naughty and contain quite a bit of stage extravagence. (Although the stagecraft is of the on-a-budget style that Solski seems to be tired of.)