IDS Pantomime - Murder in the 21st Century

19 December 2014

Last week's IDS Christmas pantomime continued in the true IDS genre of anti-capitalism through parody, which had reached its full expression during the Thatcher years of the 1980s. Would this year's performance measure up to those peaks of drama and satire; this was surely the question on the lips of everybody in the audience as it settled in its seats.

Photo from the 2014 IDS Pantomime

In last Friday's performance entitled 'Murder in the Twenty-First Century' the basic plot was to again raise the testing question: Who has been murdered, is it capitalism, some other ideology, post liberalism in general, the IDS office space strategy or what? These were the questions that the performers were expecting to pose to the audience.

The audience waited with rapt attention. The performance started late because the Brighton by-pass was jammed solid with people flocking to see this annual event. Or this may have had something to do with the Brighton-Millwall football match being played on the other side of the valley.

Photo taken at the 2014 IDS Pantomime

The audience then became rowdy (in the IDS). IDS pantomimers take an intellectually demanding approach to their presentations. It is to their great credit. However, this reviewer feels that they may have tried to stretch too far the analogies with the concept of murder by integrating it with the plot of the 'Pink Panther'. In the Pink Panther after all, the central element was theft of a diamond, so might it have been better of the producers to start with the theme of capitalism is theft?

Further connections were made with the current work of Thomas Piketty masquerading as Inspection Clouseau. In doing so the review may have made stronger links with Chapter 12 on Inequality of Wealth of Picketty's book. But perhaps this reviewer is being too critical of the intellectual linkages that the review tried to make. After all, those who promote the medium of the theatre deserve some artistic licence.

The panto was in six scenes all showing different aspects of the detective's relentless quest to find who had murdered capitalism, The new strategy of IDS to address inequality and develop sustainability was very subtly interwoven into each scene, surely giving the IDS senior management lots of serious food for thought as to how its new intellectual agenda will shape up now that it has received this major critique and stress test through dramatic art.

Photo taken at the 2014 IDS Pantomime

And the final test was surely met. Everybody enjoyed it a great deal. And as the lights came on at the end, there were hundreds of Brighton and Millwall fans (nicely separated) looking in with eyes wide open through the steamed up windows. They had heard all of the jollity and left the football match and run across the valley to see and
hear what they could.


Photos by Woody Wong Espejo, a current IDS MA Poverty and Development student.

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