Pantomime has history in our family and I remember taking my younger sisters to watch Christmas cat and the pudding pirates when I was at Uni when they were of primary school age. It was written by Christopher Lillicrap and was the perfect Christmas show which my Mum also enjoyed. Since then it's been a family tradition to go to a Christmas show every year. In the past we used to go to watch Christmas movies, including Tim Burton's The Night Before Christmas (excellent) and Jingle All the Way (not so much). One year we went to Sadler's Wells to watch Edward Scissorhands the ballet - that was absolutely stunning.
The Christmas movies I love include Elf (who doesn't), Love Actually (ok, I know, shuttup), Die Hard (yes of course it's a Christmas movie) and Miracle on 34th Street which I tried to watch with Brown Bear, but he's not that into it... yet. These are all on the telly most years so we've gone back to watching panto.
Last year I took Brown Bear and his best friend to watch Aladdin at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. He had been to see Cinderella the year before with his school so he knew the format and was familiar with the audience participation too. The boys joined in with 'he's behind you,' 'oh no it isn't' and booed loudly at the baddie. It was a great night out with ice cream in the interval and plenty of familiar songs for them to enjoy. The scene with the flying carpet was particularly entrancing and the boys loved the show and we met Wishee Washee afterwards. I made a promise to myself that I'd make it an annual thing us to go to watch a Christmas show from now on.
So next week I'm taking Brown Bear to see Peter Pan starring Craig Revel Horwood - not that my boy knows who that is of course. He loves pirates, like any self-respecting young child does, so I think he's going to enjoy Captain Hook and Smee. He isn't familiar with the story of Peter Pan though, so I'm hoping he enjoys it. If nothing else he's going to love the ice cream in the interval and I'll be shouting along with him during the audience participation bits.
Oh I've just realised that Love Actually is on. Pass the tissue box - I may need to dab some tears.