Panto round-up

Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 00:00

CINDERELLA Gaiety Theatre, Dublin Until Jan 13 gaietytheatre.com; CHEERIOS PANTO: SNOW WHITE THE ADVENTURES OF SAMMY SAUSAGES Tivoli Theatre, Dublin Until Jan 13 panto.ie; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The Helix, DCU Until Jan 13 11am 7.30pm thehelix.ie; RED RIDING HOOD Everyman Palace Thatre, Cork Until Jan 6 everyman palace.com CINDERELLA University Concert Hall, Limerick Until Jan 6 uch.ie

At any other point in the year, a radical reinterpretation of a classic text with a liberal amount of audience participation would be enough to strike terror in the hearts of theatregoers. At Christmas, though, we call this pantomime.

For many kids, this is an introduction to live performance, and there will always be relatively new arrivals to the world who don’t know how things pan out for Snow White. There are many more of us who never suspected – before the Tivoli told us otherwise – that she required help from somebody called Sammy Sausages.

That may be a rare addition in panto, a form so lacquered in ritual that its only rival for unaltered spectacle may be the Latin mass, which is similarly fond of men in frocks.

This year’s Gaiety panto, Cinderella, is a cheering blend of tradition and topical gags, while the Helix uses a wry Beauty and the Beast to address two levels of audience, young and mature(ish). In Cork, Red Riding Hood returns to outfox a wolf, and in a Limerick panto, studded with celebrity, Cinderella must hold her own against Twink and Dustin the Turkey.

Without spoiling the plot, Cinders will still go to the ball, and if you attend any of the above, you might just have one.

Can’t see that? Catch this:Oliver! Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin

PETER CRAWLEY