Is Pantomime for Adults or Children?

Last weekend we took our children with a group of friends to the pantomime to see Cinderella. We had a lovely time and everyone enjoyed it. It’s been a long time since I went to the pantomime, but I never noticed until now just how much it was actually very adult focussed.


I always thought pantomime was for children, with a bit of adult humour thrown in. However, this had large parts of adult humour focussed around the celebrity (chef) who was acting, all of which went totally over the children’s head.

I have been to an adult pantomime before, which most definitely was for adults viewing only, it was hilarious and I’d definitely go again.

Normal pantos though, are they for children or adults? I am confused. My children loved watching Cinderella, but there seemed to be less of the children focussed entertainment and more grown up speeches/jokes.

A lot of the time this wasn’t a problem as the children were captivated by the scenery etc, however, there were times when not much was happening visually and they didn’t understand the jokes, so got a bit fidgety.

The dual entertainment of adult humour alongside a children’s storyline is one of the things that makes pantomime so great and fun for everyone. However, when it becomes a little unbalanced who are we there for, us or the kids?

Are pantomimes changing or have they always been like this and I have just been unaware of it not having taken children before?

Don’t get me wrong, we did have a lovely day and Pinky made me smile when she said “I loved Cinderella and the flying horse, but I didn’t like the clowns”. By that she meant she didn’t like the ugly sisters!

I would still like to take my children to the pantomime again next year, I just wondered what other people’s experiences and thoughts were?

7 thoughts on “Is Pantomime for Adults or Children?”

  1. I love going to the panto as much as my kids. We go to the one at the Oxford Playhouse which normally has a few adult themed jokes but is most definitely aimed at children.

  2. I love going to the panto too with my 7yo nephew – we have done so since he was almost 4. I think it is for both so long as they get the balance right and it sounds like this one possibly didn’t!

  3. We went to a panto this year too, and I thought it was a good old fashioned one, totally aimed at the kids but with a few grown up jokes too (mainly from the Dame!)

    I hadn’t really considered how scary it’d be though, we went to one last year at a much bigger theatre so being somewhere smaller meant everything was louder and closer – AJ was quite frightened through the whole thing and sat on my lap for it!

    I don’t remember being so scared when I was little…

  4. The one we went to see had a good balance of adult vs kids humour! But I can see how a slight tip to the adult humour could make it less enjoyable for the children as they wouldn’t follow half of what was said!

  5. I totally agree I think they are more geared towards grown ups these days. I feel like that about a lot of children’s films thought too x

  6. I couldn’t get matinee tickets for our local theatre panto this year, so haven’t yet taken N. As children, my mum never took us because she hated them, although I do remember going with my god parents one time, back when I was about 4.

    Otherwise when we were teens we were involved with helping or being in our local AmDram pantos which were brilliant for kids and adults.

    I suppose panto is much bigger business nowadays with the inclusion of celebs compared to the ‘stars’ of my childhood. Maybe they’re aiming to get more adult bums on seats who pay more?

  7. It’s an interesting post. Pantomime, as I thought, was for kids with a few adult adult asides thrown in with ‘looks’ into the audience.

    I’ve just been with Lucas’s school to see Peter Pan at MK theatre which starred Bradley Walsh. He was superb and got the balance just right.

    I suppose it also depends on the cast but I was really impressed with this production 🙂

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