Pantomime is a specific theatrical form.
Meaning of the term
As a general term, pantomime refers to a performance during which in which performers express meaning through gestures accompanied by music. In this sense it is simply used as an alternative term to Mime.
However, in Britain a specific form of Pantimime emerged, based on aspects of ancient Roman mime, the 16th century commedia dell'arte tradition of Italy and 17th-century masques and music hall performances. The meaning here is much more specific, referring to a theatrical work based on some (often well-known) fairy tale or nursery story and aimed largely at children. The performance consists of the story enhanced by music, dance, topical jokes and slapstick comedy. In Britain and its former colonies such performances tend to take place near Christmas. An important part of the pantomime, until the late 19th century, was the harlequinade.
The concept of a pantomime on ice has also become popular in the late 20th century.
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