Thursday, December 30

Les Miserables the Pantomime?

As it’s still the Festive Season (just) I’ve still got pantomime very much on my mind.  Earlier this week I was interviewed on BBC Radio Merseyside about the history of panto and shows and artistes I have worked with, and last night I watched the BBC2 Matt Lucas documentary about the lead up to the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the 02 Arena in October.

The thing that struck me is that the cast of characters assembled by the writers Alain Boublil, and Claude-Michel Schonberg (and of course Victor Hugo) could be directly compared to those in a traditional panto.

For example compare Les Miserables with Aladdin: in Les Miserables  you have the lovers Marius and Cosette (Aladdin and Lotus Blossom), the over protective father Jean Valjean (the Emperor of China), the comedy aspect Monsieur and Madame Thenardier (Widow Twankey and Chinese policemen) and the baddie Javert (Abanazar).

As pantomime originated in Ancient Greece and became better known in its current format in Europe during the Middle Ages when it was picked up by the touring Italian Commedia dell’arte, Victor Hugo would have been very familiar with the genre. 

It’s just a thought ….

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