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What is a pantomime? Did Elvis ever do one?

Every British person is familiar with the Christmas pantomime or panto from a young age. It consists of a traditional story - Aladdin, Cinderella etc - presented as a musical. The magic ingredient is audience participation - famously screaming 'He's behind you!' when the villain looms behind the oblivious hero.

Today the panto a standard career option for many British actors - and is very popular in Australia & New Zealand, too. Sadly Elvis never performed in the UK but there is now a Presley/Panto connection. The King's wife is the latest American celebrity to come to London to join the fun.
Several American actors have taken to the British tradition of pantomime in recent years. Presley follows former Baywatch stars David Hasselhoffand Pamela Anderson to the south-west London theatre. Happy Days actor Henry Winkler also made his debut there in 2006 as Captain Hook, a role he has since returned to three times.
Presley said she was "delighted" by the opportunity, which she described as an "honour".
"I have heard such wonderful things about British pantomime," she continued. "The script is hilarious, my costume is sensational and I can't wait to get started and give the people of London my Wicked Queen."
Ms Presley can find an excellent short guide to what to expect here.

Other British Christmas traditions include the Nativity Play (most primary schools) and the home-made Nativity scene. Paul McCartney tells a funny story about the young John Lennon late night encounter with Nativity scene in Liverpool. I used this a the inspiration for a Fred & Rita playscript for teaching English language learners here.

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