'The principal boy can identify however she pleases': The middle-class guide to explaining pantomimes to your kids

TAKING your precious darlings to a form of entertainment more usually attended by the working classes? Here’s how to explain what the hell is going on:

‘The principal boy can identify however she pleases’

Yes, you’re right that the principal boy appears to be a girl who is having a romance with the principal girl who is actually a girl. But, as you know, we’re fully supportive of people identifying wherever they choose on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Apart from you, because Mummy has already planned the very traditional church white wedding you’ll be having in 15 years’ time.

‘It isn’t nice to call people ugly’

We never say people’s faces are ugly, do we? It’s very mean, so we’ll ignore what the sisters look like and say they’re ugly on the inside. Mummy never criticises anyone’s appearance, apart from Katie Price, Sharon from EastEnders, Nikki from the school gates, Daddy’s first wife and anyone who uses lip fillers. They’re not organic, darling.

‘Breaking the fourth wall is a Brechtian technique’

Brecht popularised the technique of breaking the fourth wall, as you know from your prep school performance of The Good Person of Szechwan. Yes, it’s true that a meditative soliloquy on the nature of morality isn’t the same as a council estate boy called Jaxxon sitting next to you yelling ‘He’s behind you!’ but think of pantomime as a kind of naïve folk art, like granny’s collection of African tribal masks.

‘Shakespeare used innuendo too’

Yes, daddy did snigger a lot when Widow Twankey said ‘The Prince’s balls get bigger every year’. I know you didn’t understand it, but all you need to know is that it’s a special kind of joke for grown-ups that the world’s finest writer William Shakespeare used a lot. And also that Daddy is an infantile idiot and Mummy could have done a lot better.

‘No, I don’t know who Paul Chuckle is either, darling’

This pantomime was billed as having a host of celebrities starring in it, but I must admit I’ve never heard of them. Perhaps Paul Chuckle is better known for his work at the National? Maybe Wolf from Gladiators is a cutting edge performance artist? Anyway, whoever Lisa Scott-Lee is, I’d rather she showed a bit less cleavage as fairy godmother because your father seems to be unable to stop staring.

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The only five times your parents ever had sex

OBVIOUSLY your parents had sex in order to make you, but that doesn’t mean they’re prolific shaggers. These are definitely the only other times they did it.

On their honeymoon

And even this was mainly out of obligation. All their friends and family had wished your parents well at their wedding and waved them off to a long weekend in Tenerife, fully expecting them to do the deed at least once. It would have been rude to let them down, especially as they had to hire suits and sacrifice one of their Saturday afternoons.

When they made your siblings

Your brothers and sisters had to come from somewhere, and your parents aren’t patient enough to fill out adoption papers. Instead they made them the old-fashioned way, which is too horrific for you to imagine. But it did happen though. And if you’ve got a large family, clearly they somewhat enjoyed the nightmarish process as well.

On your dad’s birthday

Don’t be so arrogant as to think you invented the concept of birthday sex. Your dad had hit upon that genius idea before you were even born and has been taking full advantage of it ever since. It’s the highlight of his calendar year, with the return of Formula 1 coming second. Don’t worry, he repays the favour on your mum’s birthday by giving her an Emma Bridgewater mug.

Christmas 1983

It was an erotic time. The Flying Pickets were number one in the charts and there was a Two Ronnies Christmas special on BBC One. How were your parents supposed to keep their hands off each other when surrounded by these perverted delights? Maybe you had to be there to understand. It was a simpler, pre-Pornhub age.

On their first date

Sorry to shatter the illusion that your mum and dad abstained during their courting like a pair of massive prudes. No, they indulged in every position imaginable within minutes of meeting. Missionary, doggy, reverse cowgirl, you name it, they did it. That’s why they didn’t bang as much since then, they were utterly shagged out. The skanks.