This is not something very familiar to people outside Ireland and the UK but they are hugely popular and a sold-out feature every year in the Christmas season: it’s Panto time. Pantomimes are basically very simple, very gaudy, very noisy theatre shows, suitable for all ages, and requiring loud vocal audience participation. Shows such as Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and other fairytales and children’s stories are year after year staged, usually featuring at least one television star or major celebrity. Do not expect the greatest acting in the world, or anything in any way sophisticated or cultural. Expect brightly colored costumes and sets and a lot of laughter. Periodically you will be encouraged to boo, hiss, cheer or yell: “Behind you.” Kids love it. Adults adore it. Because they get to be kids.
This year in Dublin you can see Cinderella at The Helix Theatre until Jan. 11 and if you miss that, there’s Jack and the Beanstalk at the Tivoli Theatre from Dec. 12 until Jan. 3, or Little Red Riding Hood at the Gaiety Theatre in South King Street from Dec. 1 until Jan 10.. If you’re not in Dublin but are travelling around Ireland you’ll probably find many of the bigger towns have a panto to offer. Wexford is well known for their annual offering as well, so make sure to check them out.