Pantomime (from Gk. pantomimos: ‘one who does everything by imitation’)
- Peter Branscombe
- and Clive Chapman
A musical-dramatic genre, taking different forms in different periods and places. The Latin pantomimus originally referred to a Roman actor who specialized in dumb show, supported by instrumental music and a chorus; by extension the word denotes a dramatic representation in dumb show. Normal modern English usage is confined to a theatrical entertainment, usually presented in the Christmas season, which, whilst no longer in dumb show, continues to use music and other spectacular elements to support a children’s tale that is often no more than a flimsy backcloth for buffoonery, dancing, topical songs and allusions and, until comparatively recent times, a harlequinade....