You can’t beat a night of panto to kick off the Christmas celebrations.
Earlier this month was a panto extravaganza for me as a Monday night was spent backstage chatting to the cast and joining in the buzz behind the scenes during a show. Then Tuesday night was my turn to watch the show as an audience member.
Snow White is a big production and backstage there were a lot of set pieces continuously getting moved about.
It was interesting learning about some theatre traditions, such as the baddie always enters and exits Stage Left, that’s the right hand side of the stage to the audience. That certain words can’t be spoken on stage as they bring bad luck. And how could I forget, watching the magic happen!
Backstage, you don’t really get to watch the show, it’s all about helping move the set on to the stage, yes I did that…!! Exciting! It’s about dancers stretching and preparing for their routines, it’s about costume changes in tiny cupboard-like spaces or watching May McFettridge waiting to make her grand entrance and listening to the audiences reaction.
Watching the cast before their stage entrance is intriguing and fascinating, as some wait patiently backstage, waiting for their cue to go on stage, or watching Chico do his preparations before going out for his shirtless scene. But the most bizarre thing I’ve ever witnessed backstage was watching the 7 dwarfs come off stage. I will say no more. It’s a world few get to see, and it’s fascinating.
The following night we went along to watch the Panto from the audience. We were quite close to the front, far enough away to avoid being brought up on stage, but close enough to still get wet, yep you read the right!
May McFettridge is a Panto legend at the Opera House and is always an absolute pleasure to watch. Beware if you are sitting on the front row or in a box! Beware if you are one of the two men brought up on stage by May. It’s all hilarious uplifting fun and as always the audience and the cast and crew have a really fun night out.
Talking to the head guy of the Panto, as many have said before, they all love coming to Belfast. It’s a genuine love of the City. They love the Opera House for its lovely team and all their support and attitude. They love the city because it’s laid back and very welcoming and also getting out for a post show pint sometimes in the Crown Bar.
If you haven’t already got your tickets, and fancy a fun Christmassy Panto with lots of singing, dancing, laughing and fun, then get your tickets and enjoy the mayhem on stage in the Opera House this Christmas and New Year.
By Jeff Meredith