Debt! He's in front of you!
Published 10/12/2011 | 05:00
• 'Tis the season to be jolly; tra la la la la, la la, la la. It is the time of mulled wine and carol singing and fairytale pantomimes that weave implausible plots where people live happily ever after.
There is a pantomime of Euro leaders that rivals anything ever written by Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm. The cast is led by a grumpy German godmother, a mad French elf and a complaining British interloper (not of the Euro gene). They are ably assisted by a chorus of assorted characters, though two of the original cast have been replaced -- a Greek in tights who could never get his lines right, and an Italian satyr who couldn't keep his hands off the dancing girls.
The plot differs from the traditional in that it consists of a determination to transform the wonderland in which this show opens into a wasteland of misery and despair for all but the main cast and their well-fatted geese, who they constantly stuff with the corn they bemoan is unavailable due to an ever more miserable peasantry. Instead of the joyous exclamations of "he's behind you", they insist on reminding captive audiences that the villain of this pantomime, cleverly disguised in an enormous costume of "debt", is very defiantly in front of them.