Backstage At Birmingham!

 

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The Final Night of “Snow White” 2020 at Birmingham Hippodrome . I joined Andrew Ryan and the cast of the Panto to help with Andrew’s “Get-Out”, as he has helped me many times in the past!

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Andrew Ryan as Nanny Annie Asprin

The Get-Out was swift, as I was packing away costumes, wigs and shoes as Adam Starr was dressing Andrew for the next entrance. These will return to our store mid week, joining my costumes from Llandudno’s panto to be sorted, cleaned and put away!

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The Magnificent Seven!

On the Friday the Hippodrome and Qdos threw a Wrap Party for this and other Qdos Pantos- each and every one “The Fairest In The Land”. Hosted by Nick & Sandra Thomas and Michael and Kathryn Harrison, with Jonathan Kiley, Ed Curtis, Adrian LeSurf, Jess Hicks, Mark Jones, Jake Hinde, Innis Robertson-The Qdos Lounge was heaving with Panto folk from all over the country-Choreographers Alan & Sharon Harding, Panto performers from Alan Stewart with Jane (Dannielle) Stewart, and Alan McHugh from the Scottish Pantomimes, to Paul Zerdin and Martin Hinkins and Paul Bouchier from The Palladium, through Brian & Ann Marie Conley (Plymouth) Chris Hayward, and Dan Russell, Clive Webb and some of the Newcastle Company, Chris Biggins from Bromley, joining in with

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Ceri Dupree from Cardiff Panto, Gary & Yvonne Hind, David Bownes, Tracey Lane, , James McCullough,Jack Land Noble and Alexandra Burke (popping in from The Bodyguard Next Door!) along with many many more I didnt manage to speak to during the evening!

The Evenings “Blooming Apple” awards were hosted by Lucy Westernidge and Jamie John. The Speeches by Michael Harrison.

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Nigel, Andrew, Chris & Dan

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George & Gill

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George & Andrew

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Lesley & Joe before the party

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Faye, Jac, Lesley & Joe with Tracey Lane & Sharon Harding

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Adam, Nigel & Gill. Lesley and Brian Conley

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Lesley & “her from Next Door” -from The Alexandra Theatre, Alexandra Burke.

 

Below- Halfway through the Panto Run…..

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At the time of writing The Birmingham Pantomime is still in full swing, and just over half way through!

Recently the Palladium finished its run, and there are a few Pantomimes running across the UK, and this spectacular production is going until February 2nd. With Palladium scenery and costumes and some fabulous effects, its well worth the trip if you’ve not seen it yet- lavish, spectacular and very very funny!

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Here, courtesy of photographer SIMON HADLEY and The Hippodrome is a glimpse of backstage during the run recently. Starting with Joe McElderry as The Spirit of The Mirror.

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Lesley Joseph prepares for her first entrance

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Lesley plays The Wicked Queen Dragonella.

The first version of “Snow White” at The Hippodrome was in 1975. It was an Aubrey Phillips touring panto with Charles Hawtrey as Muddles.It returned to the Hippodrome in 1977.  I replaced Charles Hawtrey when the show panto played the Rhyl Summer Season three months later!

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Andrew Ryan does a wig check ready to play Nanny Annie Asprin in his magic mirror.

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The Dame is ready to join the rest of the staff, Muddles and Lady In Waiting, Doreen.

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The next production of Snow White here was The Paul O’Grady version in 1999-2000. Paul O’Grady appeared as The Wicked Queen in the guise of Lily Savage. The Duchess Of Dudley, the wonderful Lizzie Wiggins played The Nurse.

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Waiting In The Wings! 

The next production of “Snow White” was in 2013-2014 when Matt Slack made his Hippodrome debut. This year will be Matt’s seventh consecutive Hippodrome Panto appearance on this the Hippo’s 120th year!

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Matt Slack appears as Muddles

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This year’s Qdos “Snow White” is Produced and Directed by Michael Harrison, The assistant Director is Tracy Lane. The Show is Choreographed by Alan Hardin, assisted by Sharon Harding. The Musical Director as always is Robert Willis- there is a six piece orchestra- Malcolm Garrett on drums has been in every pantomime at The Hippodrome for almost thirty years!

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Craig Garner gets ready to open the show, along with the rest of the “Magnificent Seven”, Josh Bennett, George Coppen, Greg Doherty, Simeon Dyer, Jamie John and Blake Lisle.

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Jamie having a laugh!

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The Ensemble at The Hippodrome are Stephen Alexander- I was in “Aladdin” at Venue Cymru with Stephen a few years back, he has recently been at The Moulin Rouge in Paris. Joining him are Aaron Barker, Joshua Cantrill, Charley Da Silva, Lucy Keenan, Lauren Key, Joseph Malana, Elysia Pemberton, Luke Redford and Laura Watson.

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Preparing for another routine, with gorgeous Palladium costumes.

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Grin and bear it!

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The  Evil Magic Spell is cast!

The Role of Prince Harry (hugely topical; at the moment of writing this!) is played by Jac Yarrow. Jac was recently starring at The London Palladium- his professional debut- as Joseph, alongside Jason Donovan. Jac is from Cardiff,, hailing from South Wales.

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Jac Yarrow as Prince Harry

Snow White often has a Dame, and sometimes the Dame is The Nurse. Here at the Hippo the Queen has a very lazy lady  in waiting- The first person ever to be diagnosed with Lazy Cow Syndrome- Doreen Tipton ! The Queen Of The Black Country Doreen sells out Theatres- a YouTube sensation, she will be touring her one woman show through the West Midlands- if she can be bothered!

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Doreen Tipton- the lazy lady in waiting

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The Finale

The Queen’s Guard are Flawless- one of the UK’s hottest dance acts, launched on Britain’s Got Talent- they even have their own school The Flawless Dance School headed by founder Marlon Warren. Flawless are Marlon Warren, Christian Alozie, Dominic Hutchinson, Toby Jackman, Jeffrey Felicisimo, Mike McNeish, Stefan Sinclair and Bradley Charles.

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Flawless!

The Title Role belongs to Faye Brookes– known to millions as Kate Connor in Coronation Street. No stranger to being a Princess, Faye has played Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical!

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Faye Brookes watching from the wings

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Its behind you! Oh yes it is! No Panto is complete without The Ghost Gag!

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This stunning Pantomime is running until February 2nd and is one of the Fairest In The Land at this moment- twice daily at the Birmingham Hippodrome, lighting designed by Ben Cracknell, with Musical Supervision by Gary Hind, special effects by The Twins FX, and a sound design by Tom Marshall. The Wardrobe created by Qdos with speciality Costumes by Mike Coltman, and the projection design by Duncan McLean.

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The Fairest Panto In All The Land written by Alan McHugh and Matt Slack. 21st December 2019- 2nd February 2020.

A Postscript! This week Dame Andrew Made did a make-over on TV Chef  Glynn Purnell, as he swapped his kitchen for PantolandMatt Slack was at hand to teach Glynn some panto tongue twisters!

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Glynn commented “thanks to the honed skills of Andrew Ryan and Matt Slack, I have realised a dream of mine I never knew I had, to become Birmingham’s bearded Brummie Dame!”

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Andrew was invited to attend the make-over of the Bullring Bull- a twice life size bronze by Laurence Broderick, symbol (or symbull!) of the Bullring Centre. For a day it became a Panto Dame!

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The panto continues until February 2nd 2020.

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