So in last night’s show there were seven birthdays in the audience – yes 7!
And so, as is tradition, the band played and the crowd sang Happy Birthday seven times. I only ever remember there being six before. So a new (unofficial) pantomime record!
I mentioned this to a friend today in passing and she suggested it might be more efficient to get all the birthdays in at the start of the show, and sing it once, covering everybody whose birthday it was.
And yes there is no doubt it would be more efficient. Less repetitive for the band, for the audience, a shorter show.
But what about the people whose birthday it is? Would they prefer the song to be sung just to them, or to a group which includes them?
The first outcome is certainly more personal. More special for each individual. And in a show such as this, the people behind it recognize the value of this. It’s part of why audiences keep coming back. They are made feel part of the show. And in a show like this, they actually are.
Efficiency is good. Important. Crucial in some areas. If it comes at the cost of the personal touch though, it may not be worth it.