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 Aladdin at The Helix Theatre until December 4th and if you miss that, there’s Sleeping Beauty at the Tivoli Theatre from 14th December until 16th January, or Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pilates at the Gaiety Theatre in South King Street from December 3rd until January 29th. 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; this year it’s Peter Pan at the Dun Mhuire Theatre from 10th until 15th of January.