Christmas In London

Dec. 18, 2012, London, England: Pantomime is a traditional part of the Christmas season in London.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

While many Christmas traditions in the United States come from Britain, one British one has not made it across the Atlantic. During the school holidays, matinee and evening, British theaters present Pantomime shows, called Panto.

This goes back to the Restoration after Cromwell's Commonweath was ended by the resumed monarchy, something the United States did not join in with, as we were still rooting for the Puritans. During the Puritan period, Christmas was banned as a "pagan" holiday, and all the fun ended. With the Restoration, theater was allowed again, and one of the things they invented was Pantomime for children.

The stories are ones we know, for the most part—Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood, Alladin. The only uniquely British tale is that of Dick Whittington, the poor boy who became Lord Mayor of London.

Panto has many conventions. First, the hero, in a Shakespearean reversal of roles, is usually played by a young actress, along with the hero's love interest. Then there is the Dame, an older woman played by a man in drag. In drag too are the Good Fairy and the Wicked Witch, who may be part of the story. There is a chorus, which changes costume often, and sometimes children who dance. Also sometimes famous actors and actresses take part.

Usually a great mess is made either by cooking or baking something on stage, helping children get even with parents who make them tidy up. Songs taught to the children in the audience, which helps to keep them busy. They also are confided in by hero and villain and encouraged to shout warnings and advice.

There is often silly dialogue engaging the audience and prizes for the children who are called up to the stage and asked questions to win.

To keep the parents amused, the dialogue is full of double-entendres that they must hope the children do not understand.

Last year we went to a Chanukah pantomime in the East End of London. It met all the norms except the melodies were based on Jewish songs and the story was of Queen Esther. Other changes are coming, as Panto is increasingly based on TV shows and popular books like Harry Potter, not part of the canon. Another cross-cultural version is Bollywood Panto based on Indian actors and costumes.

Take it in if you have the chance. It is splendid British fun, and, unlike the London theaters, costs only 3 to 10 pounds sterling for most shows. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Alladin is most popular this year.

Vivian Lewis


True Confessions From Panama Expatriates

Panama right now stands as one of the world's top retirement, investment, tax, and entrepreneur havens.

It's a natural wonderland...where you can find everything from posh new seaside condos to peaceful and affordable beach homes fit for hammock retirement... from big-city high-rise apartments to getaway mountain villages where life centers around the daily market...

 But is it perfect? Of course not.

 Let us open your eyes to the good, the bad, and the ugly of living, investing, banking, and doing business in this much-talked-about little country. Only then can you set yourself up for success here.

 Go here now to learn more. 


Continue Reading:


Enter Your E-Mail:

Readers Say

"The level of experience, knowledge, and competence is top-shelf. Primarily, I appreciated the sincere and honest approach of the organizers and all the presenters, as well as the obvious desire to give participants complete, accurate, timely, and appropriate information and to answer questions thoroughly."

Andrew F., United States


"Thank you for all your hard work. You have made a lot of people dream and a lot of dreams come true. I enjoy all the e-mails from all your staff living all over the world. I am always telling people about you and how you started your publications years ago. In fact, I just today told my banker about how honest and smart you are, letting us know where to go. Wish I had listened to you more years ago..."

— Marlene M., Alaska

Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


Sign up for Overseas Opportunity Letter

Receive our editor's latest research reports...absolutely FREE!

letters The Best Places For Living And
Investing in the World for 2015