The Broadbent sisters star as Tim-Tim and Olivia in The Reluctant Dragon.
The Broadbent sisters star as Tim-Tim and Olivia in The Reluctant Dragon. CONTRIBUTED

No reluctance here in performing annual pantomime

I SAW my first pantomime, Snow White, in 1944 at the Chatham Empire Theatre in the UK.

It was wondrous because it was combined with a circus and on stage at various times were a couple of elephants, a lion tamer flicking at his beasts, plus Snow White and assorted small chaps.

Two memories stand out: a local kids' dance group singing Dance With a Dolly With a Hole in Her Stocking (very big at the time) and a Wicked Stepmother who so nasty that you could never ever like her, except perhaps on a raft at sea with no other food in sight.

Panto started in China, spread across Europe, into the UK and Australia.

Several pantomimes stray from the traditional form, including The Reluctant Dragon and Peter Pan.

Neither have much in the way of cross-dressing, although most Pans retain Peter being played by a female.

Some of England's leading male actors have jumped at the chance to play pantomime - among them Sir Ian McKellen, who played a wonderfully camp Widow Twankey.

So what's the big attraction?

Answer: pantos are great fun to perform, huge fun to watch and, for the production crew, the journey from start to opening provides untold entertainment.

In The Indee's January panto The Reluctant Dragon, the juvenile leads Tim-Tim and Olivia are being played by talented sisters Emily and Grace Broadbent.

Emily, 10 and Grace, 6, were in the previous Indee production in 2014 as members of the village choir.

And while stepping up to lead status is a very big jump, their script-reading for the roles was very intelligent.

I'm biased, perhaps, but I'm predicting that audiences will adore them.

The Reluctant Dragon is playing now until January 22 on Saturdays (3pm) and Sundays (11am and 3pm) at the Yandina School of Arts Hall.

Book on 5472 8200 or at www.indeetheatre.com