This is the week that many pantomime begin rehearsals, with a good few opening around the 8th & 9th December- myself included. Monday I start rehearsals (and the Dame’s Blog!) for what I think will be my 44th or 45th Pantomime. That crept up on me suddenly!
We rehearse at the venue this year- with Thirty Five Pantomimes Qdos- now the World’s largest Pantomime Producer has run out of spaces to rehearse in London! I’ll be spending week one commuting from central London- a hotel there saves on the journey time from home immensely, and then will be staying in High Wycombe for the tech week and the run.
The next few weeks will be busy, and I’ll try to blog whenever I have the chance- the phones are ringing now with Pantomime based articles that papers want supplied, and two TV companies have asked for an appearance- but sadly they pick the busiest time, and so I won’t be appearing on the One Show in a frock breathing heavilly having raced from rehearsals! My costumes, wigs and even my make-up are somewhere on the road as I type, so I’m without the whereabouts!
I will have a special bit of news- in fact two items of interest to reveal, pantomime related, but I’ll be able to do so a little later in the next week or so when I’m given the all clear.
The great news last week was that Panto Royalty visited the real Palace, and returned as Dame June Whitfield! Never was an award so deserved. Congratulations Dame June. At long last!
Dame June Whitfield
The Stage newspaper this week has an issue dedicated to Pantomime news this week, and makes a great read- and a great interview with my mate Susie Mckenna about her life in Pantomime.
For now its line learning, and packing ready for that “Fallen Off The Planet” state that panto folk get into once we begin rehearsals. Everything stops as we enter Pantoland and we return to normality in a month or so!
First Panto of the year for me- a trip to Hackney Empire yesterday to see Susie Mckenna’s “Cinderella”. A glorious evening- it was Press Night- watching a glittering show with a packed audience in this stunning Victorian building.
Clapton The Horse with Darren Hart as Buttons. Kat B, Susie McKenna and Tony Whittle
Peter Straker as Baron Hardup.
Lots of memories of working with Susie in the “Cinderellas” we did back in the day- Susie as Principal boy, or Dandini. She makes a stunning and blisteringly funny baddie these days too!
Aisha Jawando as Cinderella and Krysten Cummings as Fairy Godmother
Dandini is played by Stephane Anelli with Prince Charming played by Chris Jenkins. Two very lovable mice returned to the Empire (Puppet Master Brian Herring) voiced by Sharon D Clarke and Clarke Peters. A Pantomime horse returns to the stage too- I was just saying in an interview yesterday that the Panto Horse was a myth! I’m proved wrong in Hackney!
A great way to start the Panto season. Good luck to Susie and the cast for the run, To Chris Hayward and the gang in Newcastle- opening now, and good luck to all who start their pantomimes this week. See you in the blog!