Starsky and Fonz play pantomime to hisses and boos

Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:45am EST
 
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By Paul Majendie

WOKING (Reuters) - Starsky and The Fonz are having the time of their lives being hissed and booed every night by hundreds of screaming children.

The Hollywood stars of the two U.S. cult TV series are reveling in their roles for pantomime, a rumbustious British theatrical tradition with deafening audience participation.

In the run-up to Christmas every year, theatres across Britain are packed with kids often enjoying their first taste of the stage -- classic fairy tales given slapstick treatment.

Pantomime is all about joining in. Everyone shouts "Look Out Behind You" as the villain creeps up on the unsuspecting hero, ancient jokes are recycled, audience singalongs are compulsory.

Paul Michael Glaser, who played Detective Dave Starsky in the 1970s hit TV show "Starsky and Hutch" and Henry Winkler, the leather-coated Fonz from U.S. sitcom "Happy Days," have both abandoned sunny California for chilly provincial England to play Captain Hook in two different "Peter Pan" productions.

"I like to play silly and Captain Hook is such a wonderful baddie isn't he," Glaser told Reuters.

"It's great that Britain has this tradition of pantomime. It's great that audience participation -- which is at least as old as Shakespeare -- still continues here today."

In sharp contrast to life behind the camera, Winkler said: "Here there is an audience of nearly 2,000 all screaming and yelling. The Americans don't understand the phenomenal give and take, the phenomenal interaction."   Continued...

 
<p>Paul Michael Glaser is seen on stage playing Captain Hook in this undated photograph released in London December 12, 2007. Starsky and The Fonz are having the time of their lives being hissed and booed every night by hundreds of screaming children. For the Hollywood stars of the cult TV series have taken with gusto to playing in pantomime, a rumbustious British theatrical tradition with deafening audience participation. REUTERS/Churchill Theatre/Handout</p>