Nik Butler: Planning pantomime showing for one night only

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Just when you thought there could be no new genres to the Pantomime universe along comes ‘Local Democracy and Planning’; a humorous mix of ‘I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue’ melded with ‘Aladdin’.

There are no tickets for sale; however seats in the public gallery will be available on a first come, first served basis. Unusually audience participation has been discouraged. As much as we all enjoy a good ‘He’s behind you’ when the naughty consultation document lurks behind our intrepid green fields; silence will be expected.

Those wishing to participate in the pantomime can send in their interactions in the form of a question which will then be selected on the basis of representation of a majority opinion; or possibly just pulled from the lucky dip.

The play will follow three acts with audience questions prior to the main event. Following this will be an articulated presentation detailing tales of daring do and reckless triumph and before the intermission a call will go out as to who can possibly save this poor market town from turmoil and disaster. Where are the landowners and investors who can set things aright?

Following light snacks and beverages, served in the local Arts Centre, Act Two will begin. Where if this were a procedural television show a science montage would be delivered. Possibly integrating clips of serious-looking councillors and concerned looking residents with a backing track reminiscent of eighties rock and power chords.

Act Three rolls around and the swarthy determination of local democracy; apparently ignoring the advice of local public, whom in this drama would play the part of the well-meaning authority figure, set about with determination to do the task which they feel called to achieve.

Explaining how this story ends would be to spoil the main event. The title for this pantomime ‘Planning for our Future Jobs and Homes’ has only one showing on the 13th at 5.30pm. We should all make an effort to attend the meeting if only so we can have more than media or facebook feedback regarding the evening’s ‘public’ debate.

When the curtain falls on this managed display of democracy will the audience remember how they came to be viewed in this play? I imagine the cry from the stage ‘What do you think boys and girls? Will the public pay attention next time?’ and the audience will gleefully shout their reply: “No!”