The Great Little Panto Show: Manoel Theatre back with another Pantomime for kids

'Ċikku and the Chocolate Panto' (2022)

This December, an enchanting new panto is coming to the Manoel Theatre. After returning from a three-year panto hiatus last year, TOI TOI is once again bringing another magical production to the stage this festive season.

Typically, pantos are characterised by their dumbing down of a well-known kids’ story. This play, however, is a bit more ambitious. The Great Little Panto Show puts a twist on far more than one the fairy tales we all grew up with, without falling short of topical jokes and slapstick comedy. This play borrows from multiple tales to construct its narrative, creating a chaotic Shrek 2-esque amalgamation of characters. 

See, panto characters reside in a place all year long, patiently waiting to be let loose to go on exciting adventures during the holiday season, kind of like a Christmas sweater. But not all of the characters are used; most of them must wait several years before their panto is eventually performed.

To keep the underutilised characters entertained, the Fairy Godmother (Cinderella) decides to put on a little panto. After a very rigorous and intense audition process, she casts Snow White, Jack (from Jack & the Beanstalk), and Widow Twankey (from the Aladdin Pantomime), with narration by Puss in Boots.

However, things take an unfortunate turn when Little Red Riding Hood’s adversary, the Big Bad Wolf, doesn’t get cast. He takes it upon himself to steal the magic book containing all of the panto magic, resentful that he will have to miss out on the enjoyment for another year. And just like that, a simple just-for-fun play meant to pass the time turns into a race against time to save all the world’s pantomimes!

The Great Little Panto Show is a product of TOI TOI, the Manoel Theatre’s Learning Programme for kids. You could say it’s a panto by kids, for kids. It’s an original production written by Malcolm Galea, and brought to the stage under the direction of Dorothy Bezzina. Moreover, composer Matteo Depares is the mind behind the panto’s music.

You can catch this magical adventure at the Maneol Studio Theatre in Valletta from December 8 to 17. The shows are held at varying times, to check the times and purchase a ticket visit here.  Do note the pantomime was specially written for children aged 4 and up.