The Pantomime Roadshow- Halfway!
Sitting here in Blackpool on a blustery night, with the clocks about to go back for Winter, it struck me that we are half way through the tour!
Welcome to this season’s Roadshow team- Andrew Ryan, Alan Magor and myself. For our two weeks in London Andrew and I were joined by Will Jeffs, and for our week in Wolverhampton to come we will once again be working alongside Nathan Daniel.
Alan Magor & Andrew Ryan
We started in September with two weeks of shows for the Kenneth More Theatre, promoting their pantomime “Dick Whittington” around The London Borough of Redbridge and into Newham, Waltham Forest and East London schools. Big thanks to Steven Day and Sally Woodfield at the KMT for nearly twenty shows in the locale!
We left London for Southampton and played ten schools – nearly three thousand children saw the show- for the Mayflower Theatre. We even managed to catch the tail end of the Mayflower Panto Press Launch during the week, and catch up with Brian Conley,Kathryn Rooney, Martin Ramsdin and David Robbins, and Gok Wan and his very lovely dog, Dolly!
Michael & Kathryn at the Press Launch
The fates smiled on starving actors that week- we strolled up to a restaurant in the town and ordered our meals. “Do we pay now or at the end?” the answer was “No. You don’t pay anything at all”. “Sorry?” “Nothing at all- its all free. We are not fully open and in training, so its our chance to hone our skills. Enjoy!” We did! Thank you kind restaurant!
Our second year here at Sunny Southampton-where both Andrew & I have enjoyed panto seasons in this huge theatre- and big thanks to Sara Scott and Mike Evans for a fantastic week once again!
During that week we gazed in awe as the World’s largest passenger liner sailed into the dock and towered over Ikea! In fact it towered over Southampton with its seventeen stories of passenger accommodation. We’d love to take the Panto Roadshow on the High Seas on that ship!
Ships passed in the night too, as John Evans arrived at Southampton and sailed away, and we didn’t get the chance to have a cuppa as we were doing a show. I’ve had the great joy of working alongside John in two pantos at Venue Cymru- “Aladdin” and last year in “Sleeping Beauty”. We didn’t see John, but we did get to talk about him a lot as we headed up to Venue Cymru in Llandudno to promote this seasons “Cinderella” when John is joined by Jimmy Osmond this year!
A week of ten shows on behalf of Venue Cymru in the area, and one very lovely show that took place in Theatr Colwyn. We were joined by students of Ysgol Llandrillo for a jolly, loud and very lovely show that we’ll remember for a long time. Paul Sampson, photographer in residence for Venue Cymru joined us there, and took some excellent photographs of the event. Here’s the link from the site http://www.documentconwy.co.uk
The Palladium Llandudno
At Theatr Colwyn we were looked after by Aidi Jones, and it was a good to catch up with him- it felt like Panto all over again! A really lovely week in which we managed to sight see in between shows- the odd waterfall here, the odd Castle there, and even squeezed in a flying visit to the Isle Of Anglesey and the station with the very long name- you know the one! We had a bowl of soup in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
I really enjoyed revisiting my old haunts- staying at the glorious “Can Y Bae” of course, with Michael, Dave and Rolo the Airdale, andhaving Dinner at the Empire, A Roast at The Albert and, of course, a trip up the Orme in a tram- into the clutches of Hurricane Gonzales, and barely able to stand up- great fun!
Passed through Rhyl en route to one of the schools we were visiting. I once did a very long Summer Season there at the Gaiety Theatre on the promenade- about 28 weeks I think- Music Hall, Variety, A Summer pantomime of “Snow White” and many other shows. The theatre has now gone, and on the site is now a public loo- but it still retains the circular shape of the Gaiety Theatre- I had a quick snap taken standing where I think the foyer was back in ’77!
Even managed to find some programmes from The Arcadia Theatre in an antiques shop- The Arcadia was on the site now occupied by Venue Cymru, and pay another visit to the Palladium Theatre, now a beautifully restored Wetherspoons in the town centre. The Queen Of Resorts looked beautiful even in a gale.
The Theatre has some great posters and programmes on display- take a look in the coffee bar when you are passing, then go upstairs for a gallery of pictures by Paul Sampson. I’m up there in my opening costume from last year looking very Majestic!
While in the area we got the chance to visit the stunning Portmerion Village, as beautiful as ever. Every time you turn a corner of this 1920’s creation it is like looking at a panto set!
The yellow building below is where Noel Coward wrote “Blithe Spirit” in a matter of days during the war!
From Llandudno to Blackpool to rest up and prepare for the journey up to Glasgow- a day of trams, fish and chips and the Blackpool “Hallucinations” before next week’s shows for the SECC- another “Cinderella” with John Barrowman and the fabulous Krankies!