The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - Joe co-hosts Stu­dio 10, 8.30am week­days, on Net­work Ten.

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.

There were dou­ble en­ten­dres that flew as far over the kids’ heads as Peter Pan”

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