Often I visit local pantomimes which have a really fantastic cast, even a great director but they really lack that sort of punch of happiness that an amazing panto can give you. Here I’ve detailed my 5 top tips to make your Pantomime really shine above the rest.
1. The Dame
Casting the dame is the most important role in the show, if the dame can’t hold the show together well then it’s doomed. Audiences know what they expect from a dame and a really good one will keep people coming back year after year to see the show. Dame’s costumes are part of the appeal here. Seeing the dame in a different (often themed) dress every time they enter is part of the appeal of pantomime.
2. The Scenery
For me, pantomime scenery is all about storybook scenes in a cartoon style with a strong nod towards the family audience of pantomime. It should feel like a pop-up book in style and have a strong storytelling feel to it. This makes the family audience feel at home with a pantomime but it also gives a sense of fun and style to proceedings. My favourite part of a panto is spotting all the local/topical/contextual ‘easter eggs’ in the scenery such as a pun on the name of a local shop or well-known personality.
Children want magic, not just when the fairy enters and exits but all the way through. They want to be swept away to a world where they can be whatever they want to be and then can let their imaginations run wild. If you can create that world through your cast and production then children will always love it. Perhaps there are some simple special effects that you can use to create this.
Children now a days are used to fairytale adventures like Shrek and Disney”s Tangled and Frozen. They want adventure and danger as well as the easy-watch comedy. Especially for the boys. Without wanting to adhere to gender stereotypes there’s no denying that we’re still at the stage where boys love a good sword fight and girls love princesses in pretty dresses, and that’s okay because panto can cater for it all!
What panto is complete without glitter? This supremely valued material in the panto world is essential to create a sense of class and fairytale to your panto. Get it on the set, the costumes, your cast and your floor. The whole show will be that little bit brighter because of it. Just when you think you’ve added enough glitter, add more for good measure, you can’t go wrong.