Country’s first ever panto – oh yes it is!

Every child has seen a Disney movie – and every parent has been bored stiff, as animated characters prance past evil witches and towards a handsome prince. The kids are learning important information about good, evil, and how to recycle a plot line – the parents are just wishing it would stop.

But this Christmas, there’s a little relief on the way. You might know how the fairy tale ends – but now, you and your kids can have fun together along the way.

Copenhagen Theatre Circle, the cityÂ’s oldest English language theatre group, is bringing the British tradition of pantomime to Copenhagen with their original production of the childrenÂ’s classic Cinderella.

A rite of passage for all British children, pantomime is descended from the Italian masked comedy, comedia dellÂ’arte. Its current form is a noisy, raucous, gender-bending part of the classic UK Christmas. The style takes familiar story lines and demands that the audience (and the actors) break theatre-house rules.

This usually means musical numbers, loud costumes, and plenty of drag. A ‘principle boyÂ’ is played by a feminine young woman, while the ‘DameÂ’ is played by an older man in makeup. The lucky chorus plays the farm animals, usually a cow. High jinks ensue, and the audience is encouraged to yell, scream, boo, and cheer the villains and the heroes. If the lines “HeÂ’s behind you” and “Oh no, it isnÂ’t” arenÂ’t familiar, donÂ’t worry, they will be by the time itÂ’s finished.  

Expect this to yield plenty of entertainment. The cast has promised references to Harry Potter, the Danish parliament, and lots of interactive musical numbers. And rest assured that the many sexual entendres and innuendos – as vital to a good panto as drag and slapstick – fly over the heads of the younger audience. They might get the joke, but in a flashback ten years from now. 

“It’s great,” enthuses Simon Neubert-Luckner, the vice-chairman of the CTC. “We’ve been considering doing a Christmas show for quite some time – something that appealed to both young and old. A panto seemed the obvious choice.”

The story of Cinderella is a classic. The pretty young hero is forced to cook and clean while her gaudy, man-hungry stepsisters scheme and bicker. On the night of the local princeÂ’s ball, sheÂ’s forced to stay home and keep house. But with the help of a token fairy godmother, who does some very imaginative things with a pumpkin, she has the chance to get decked-out and snag her man.

Barry McKenna – a winner of the Reumert Award, DenmarkÂ’s foremost prize for the performing arts – is the writer and director. Not content to let CinderellaÂ’s path to romance be paved with dull jokes, heÂ’s given the plot a welcome update, with lots of juicy parts.

“I was hoping to audition for one of the Ugly Sisters,” muses CTC chairman Frank Theakston.

“But those roles were given to younger men.” Instead, he will play Baron Hardup, Cinerella’s father, who is inadvertently married to the wicked witch Carabosse.

“It’s been a burning ambition of mine since I joined the CTC in 1979 for us to do a Christmas pantomime, and now we’re finally there,” Theakston said. “It’s hopefully the beginning of a long annual tradition in Copenhagen.”

Pantomime theatre has been exported across Europe, Asia, Africa and India, largely by British expats. Now, the fun has arrived in Denmark.


Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2, 2100 Cph Ø; starts Thursday (Dec 15), ends Jan 7, performances at 19:00 (weekdays) & 16:00 (weekends) Dec 15-23, Jan 3–7; tickets: adults 150kr, children 120kr, via or 2812 3680, for group discounts; special cast meet-ups on Dec 17, Dec 18, and Jan 7