Hurling sweets at panto ‘too risky for kids’: Cumbria officials

December 26th, 2010 - 12:59 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 26 (ANI): The tradition of hurling sweets into the audience during a pantomime may soon become a thing of the past, as Cumbria officials have ordered amazed actors to lob marshmallows into the crowd instead.

Council officials have decided that throwing boiled sweets is too risky for children.

The stars of a new production of Aladdin have also been stopped from spraying water into the auditorium-and the pyrotechnics that usually herald the appearance of Aladdin’s genie have been barred as well.

However, panto traditionalists have said that the measures are the most stringent ever applied to a production, and the producer of the show has described the council’s attitude as idiotic and miserable.

The council has said that the rules are necessary to ensure no members of the audience are injured during the production of Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp, which is playing at the town’s 500-seat Forum 28 venue.

Duggie Chapman, the show’s producer, said he was upset by the excessive requirements.

“Pantomime is the only really British theatre tradition we have left and these rules do bother me,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

“They are idiotic. I guess it’s down to someone in a particular department making a job for themselves. It is a bit miserable,” he said.

Chapman is also producing a version of Aladdin in Bolton - where no such restrictions on panto fun have been imposed.

“In the Bolton production we can have enormous fun slopping water all over the audience and we do have some amazing pyrotechnics. But we can’t do any of that in Barrow because of the conditions the council has imposed.

‘When the genie comes in, we have to make do with some lighting tricks because we are not allowed the pyrotechnics,” he said.

The council’s rules have also been criticised by Christopher Biggins, the country’s most celebrated pantomime dame, who is starring in another production of Aladdin at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

He revealed that in his production, too, actors had not been allowed to throw sweets.

He said, “I would love to throw boiled sweets like the old days and hit them right between the eyes. But we can’t so I have to make do with marshmallows and things like that. We have a lot of pyrotechnics in our show and the day they say I can’t have pyrotechnics is the day I retire.” (ANI)

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