The Christmas Pantomime is one of the staples of the Christmas festivities on the islands of Malta. Adults and children alike consider this theatrical production as the epitome of festive entertainment characterising the season, not to mention that the amazing array of local talent within the spheres of theatre, dance and song, as well as acting, is showcased perfectly within this yearly show.
A Pantomime, or Panto, is an extravaganza – a musical comedy usually designed for all the family. There are a number of local theatres and theatrical companies which vie and compete with different Christmas Pantomimes in Malta. It is simply amazing to see so much talent, diversified in so many projects, all of them offering different storylines, styles, not to mention fun and entertainment.
Generally, theatrical productions start preparing their Christmas Pantomime months in advance. The script is written, with the focus being on using already beloved and well-known themes relevant to the season, such as Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’, or even fairytales like Cinderella or Snow White. The beauty of such Christmas Pantos however, is that comedy and empathy are extolled from the viewers themselves by proposing to enrich such productions with anecdotes relating to current affairs and issues, cultural peculiarities, local jokes, and even political and sometimes sexual innuendos. Needless to be said, it is not easy to amalgamate all this when one needs to cater for both an adult and child-filled audience, which is why most productions offer two types of the same theatrical act – the matinee or afternoon show which targets children, and the evening show which is more tailor-made for adults. Everyone however, is welcome to any of the shows.
Each year, theatre companies offer different tales to impress, entertain, and make us dream. 2016 is no exception. This year, the focus is on three particular Christmas Pantomimes, all of them with a different theme, which will surely delight in producing laughter and inspiration.
1. ‘Un-Believe It!’ – presented by The Malta Amateur Dramatic Club (MADC), which founded in 1910, is the oldest dramatic society in Malta, this Christmas Panto will take place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. Directed by Nanette Brimmer and starring such popular actors as Alan Montanaro, Anthony Edridge, and Ella Manduca, it will be running from the 22nd of December 2016 to the 8th of January 2017. More information can be found here.
2. ‘Puss in Boots – A Traditional Christmas Pantomime’ – presented by Masquerade School of Performing Arts, an innovative company established in 1997, this typical Christmas show will be taking place at the beautiful and historical Manoel Theatre, in the heart of the capital city of Valletta. Written by Malcolm Galea and directed by Anthony Bezzina, it will showcase many well-known actors and artists such as Stephen Oliver, Joseph Zammit, Joe Depasquale and Katherine Brown. It will be running from December 23rd 2016 to January 8th 2017. Click here for more information.
3. ‘Alice u l-Minions fil-Pajjiz tal-Meravilji’ – presented by Bronk Productions Limited, one of Malta’s leading dramatic companies, this Christmas Pantomime will be taking place at the Sir Temi Zammit Theatre at the University of Malta in Msida. Written and directed by Tonio Vella, and it will be showcasing the amazing Wild Strength Dancers. This Panto will be running from the 25th of December to the 8th of January. For more information visit their Facebook page.