Killjoy British officials ban pantomine stars from throwing sweets to children

They are traditions that no proper pantomime should be without – the over-dramatic dame, the frantic cries of ‘It’s behind you’ and the hurling of sweets into the audience for excited children to grab. But council officials have now decided that throwing boiled sweets is a health-and-safety risk and have ordered amazed actors to lob marshmallows into the crowd instead.

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

Panto traditionalists believe 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 restrictions have been imposed by officers at Barrow Borough Council in Cumbria. The council says 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 saddened by the excessive requirements. ‘Pantomime is the only really British theatre tradition we have left and these rules do bother me,’ he said. ‘They are idiotic. I guess it’s down to someone in a particular department making a job for themselves. It is a bit miserable.’

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

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