believes kids’ pantomime is where true art can shine.
The other night I was privileged to take part in a major Australian production of Peter Pan – although I should clarify that by “major Australian production” I mean “modest British pantomime”, and by “privileged”ed” I mean “unpaid”.
Either way, it was a spectacular night and d in return for a quick cameo my y kid got a free show and I got a free e bit of chocolate cake. If that’s not an agile economy then I don’t n’t know what is.
But whathat really struck me was that hat the whole thing was s completely outrageous us – and I don’t just mean n in the “Oh“Oh DAHHHLINGLing you were FAAAAB-ULOUS!” -ulous!” sense. (Although h I was.)
Rather r it was an incrediblee sense of freedom that I haven’t felt since my pants split open n during the Dandenong ng High School production oduction of Oklahoma! a! It’s fair to say that a couple uple of Tinker Bells also made e an appearance onstage that hat night.
Like the he best live shows it was both risqué and risky.y. Yet for all the yo-ho-hos s there would not have been n one child in the audience who was remotely scarred nor a mother remotely offended. My own three-and-a-half-year-old was far too busy being traumatised by Captain Hook’s dance moves and was greatly relieved when they werew stilled by a crocodile (TRIGGER WARNING).WAR Thankfully, he convince convinced himself that the other buccaneersbuccane were all “happy pirates”. Why e else would his father be dressed as one? Meanwhile, there werew double entendres anda triple-breasted brasbra that flew as far over the hea heads of the children as Peter PanP did. And that wasn’ wasn’t even the worst part. There w were also Indians who said “How!”“and orphans who asked “Why?” and at least one pira pirate who perpetuated deeply offensiveo gay stereotypes. It says either too much about me or too mu much about the world that as I sat there I couldn’t help bu but catalogue every PC violation violation. If this show were on TV there would be petitio petitions condemning Pe Peter Pan for cultural appropriationapp and men’s right rights groups protesting the vilificationv of emotionally a absent dads. Instead, in the dark of the theatre, I marvelled at what a special place this was. Not a place that was free from shock or surprise, nor outsized behaviour or outdated ideas, but a place that was free from humourlessness. An oasis without outrage. My own little safe space.
Indeed, the only trauma I suffered was after the show, when my son wanted his picture taken during the meet and greet. Despite a loud lecture from me about the virtues of patience, the nice production people insisted on taking us to the front of the queue. In one horrorfilled moment I saw the headlines flash before my eyes: “JOE HILDEBRAND HAS LEIGH SALES MOMENT – EXCEPT WITHOUT WALKLEY TO SHOW FOR IT.”
But, ultimately, it was a happy ending all round. My son got his picture, the non-famous people got to wait for even more celebrities than they bargained for, and the parking station company got $25 for three hours on a Sunday night.
Yes, for just one night everybody had fun and nobody was upset. Maybe fairytales really can come true. Joe co-hosts Studio 10, 8.30am weekdays, on Network Ten.
There were double entendres that flew as far over the kids’ heads as Peter Pan”