Skip to content

The Last Beauty Show!

IMG_1604

The trucks are in place, the thoughts are on packing- the final two shows are upon us! A day when the matinee was full of very jolly people, and so was the evening- along with Theatre Manager Sarah Ecob and her party, to watch the final show. We all had a great deal of fun! The audience in particular loved the Bedroom antics and the 12 Days Of Christmas melee of toilet rolls being passed around the auditorium while Kieran set off in pursuit!

1H0A0879_©Paul Sampson

Photo Paul Sampson

Document Conwy photographer Paul was backstage0 he’s been building up a portfolio of shots of life backstage, and documenting me in the life of a Dame backstage. Cant wait to see the results!

ecfc21e0-3a98-4cf3-88ae-d912137dadcd

A great picture from the wings- Liam and me caught in mid “Copa”!

During the second show Christina did my packing, as indeed she has done for the past pantomimes, so that by the time I emerged from the shower and set foot onstage, everything was ready to go on the truck for Yorkshire. It stays there until Andrew Ryan’s panto ends in Birmingham on February 6th and then will return back to us. Thanks Christina- a stunning job once again!

IMG_1587

The Stage just fifteen minutes after the curtain fell! The get-out is a major event, a real hard hat choreographed piece of engineering, undertaken by masters of their crafts! So impressive to watch!

Here are some of Paul Sampson’s Black & White shots of the last show:

IMG_1623 IMG_1625 IMG_1624

IMG_1586 IMG_1585

Meanwhile, Emma on the crew has taken on Dave The Dinosaur as Work Experience. Here is his journey around Venue Cymru trying out different skills in Stage Management and even Musical Direction!

d0ab6ed4-e0a5-4866-8051-137f69631747 5dd3d25e-f67e-4ece-956e-10788511f12b 03d304b7-e27f-44dc-853b-5b0015770cc2 979399a9-53ae-4c19-a7c9-5a15a4501b99 a6f5bbec-5436-4cda-a95a-ab1699afaf17 ac1ab6ec-b518-4b71-9ff8-5c632cca96f0

c577d4e6-f20a-4492-914b-c01f25f361fa cc205e43-ed79-48ca-aea5-073bc07f2944

With the audience applause ringing in the ears the cast left the building pretty rapidly- there are some very long drives home tonight. I sorted my labels, and sorted my box of costumes and wigs I will be wearing here in twelve days time when I will be part of “take pART” here at Venue Cymru for two days. Royal walkabouts, selfies and comparing shows are part of my Dame’s remit!

IMG_7340

The Remainers! The group of us that stayed over night, enjoying a few drinks at the Albert along with Helen & Al, missing from this photo. What a lovely friendly jolly bunch we’ve had here in Pantoland. A pleasure & a joy to work alongside. Same with the VC Crew and staff. Lovely to see Irene Bond today- Irene is a volunteer usher here at the Venue and dressed me in panto. Lovely to get a change to chat dogs and gardens with her once again!

SO HERE WE ARE-The end of our Panto journey! A great Panto crowd of people, and a good time had by Audiences and by us here at Llandudno. Diolch yn fawr iawn! Thank you SO much. Here’s to the next season of Pantoland.

6885c997-bba0-449d-950e-456db258bdfd

12d59660-3d9f-4c82-9491-8a1b67f2c095

Thank you for joining us on this trip through the magic that is Pantoland by following this Dames Daily Blog!

Postscript- New Year’s Eve 2019

A visit to the Birmingham Hippodrome to see a fabulous panto- “Snow White” with Lesley Joseph, Matt Slack, Joe McElderry, Faye Brookes, Andrew Ryan and Doreen Tipton, Jac Yarrow, Flawless, Craig Garner, Blake Lisle, Jamie John, Simeon Dyer, Josh Bennett, Greg Doherty George Coppen, along with Aaron Barker, Stephen Alexander (I did “Aladdin” with Stephen at Venue Cymru) Charley Da Silva, Joshua Cantrill, Elysia Pemberton, Joseph Malana, Lauren Key and Lucy Keenan.

IMG_1638

New Year’s Eve in Pantoland- Brummie Style.

IMG_1639

IMG_1644

And Andrew Ryan’s Nurse Nanny Asprin!

IMG_1460

Happy New Year!

Penultimate Beauty

IMG_1573

Our amazing Crew here at Venue Cymru!

It takes around fifteen to twenty people in all to create Pantoland on stage- here are some of the Crew with a few omissions- Keith, Aidi, James are off today, but it shows that the strength of a show is in the Crew making it all happen, along with our Stage Management team, then Ushers, Box Office staff, Marketing, and all the “secret army” that create what you see on the stage. A Huge Diolch yn Fawr to these amazing people!

Two shows at 2pm and 7pm, with me rushing about pre-packing before Christina (front row second from left) will be chalking up her record fourth “get-out” for me, packing the costumes as they are finished with, so everything can head for the large transport trucks that are already parked by the Venue Dock Doors.

1H0A0591_©Paul Sampson

Photo Paul Sampson

A big thanks to VC for arranging our farewell drinks get-together at Dylans next door, for Crew and cast to chill in a great atmosphere, and lovely to see the Colwyn Bay Company of “Aladdin” there, headed by Stuart and Libby! A great evening. We were joined by Sarah Ecob the Theatre Manager, and a great time was had by all.

d696a63e-3fd5-433f-87ab-2b589e8276cb

SUNDAY 29th December 2019

Today is our final day! I am heading into Venue Cymru now for the 1pm show, and the second show will be a blur of packing. Hopefully if I have surfaced from a sea of boxes and dress rails I will report back on today. The most important thing to add to this is to say what an amazing and friendly talented cast and crew we have had here in “Sleeping Beauty”- A true joy to be with on our Panto journey!

1H0A0708_©Paul Sampson

The Final Two Shows approach!

Beauty’s Relaxed Performance!

1H0A0870_©Paul Sampson

Photo by @DocumentConwy

Friday 27th December 2019

Today was a matinee of our Relaxed Performance, where the Venue Cymru makes the building available to those who would possibly not otherwise visit the panto- the experience not being comfortable for those who find it a bit frightening, a bit stressful. The auditorium was transformed into an open space, seats removed allowing space to roam and wander- doors open, house lights to a quarter, and all the scary things like pyro flashes, loud effects music and generally loud noise removed. The auditorium becoming a place to have fun with others but in a safe environment.

b91e068e-4da9-4f85-b5d4-1bb997601ded

Our gorgeous Ensemble ladies attend the Palace

I did a speech, more of a chat to the audience at the beginning of the show outlining of this this and emphasising that we are all pretending and all having fun together, and then the performance began. In addition to the 300 or so audience that this relaxed performance was aimed at, we were also joined by a further 800 or 900 audience members out to have fun over the Christmas Holidays.

bd8eb05a-b1c8-4ca3-90c8-8d7db1d8ace1

The full Sleeping Beauty Ensemble backstage

The show was received amazingly, it was a joy to do and great responses throughout! I love these shows, and Theatres all over the UK are now doing them during the run.

I managed an hour in another part of Venue Cymru this morning- A Toy Fair.

IMG_1554

A great find! A corgi model tram showing the Llandudno tram advertising Catlin’s Follies. The very building I bought this toy tram in stands on the site of Catlin’s Follies that were performed in the Arcadia Theatre- What a lovely historical connection! I’ve even stood on the real tram last Summer when it was brought to the Promenade for a recreation of Pierrots and Panto here in Llandudno. This is one for my cabinet!

1H0A0888_©Paul Sampson 1H0A0810_©Paul Sampson

Photos by Paul Sampson

We had a visitor this matinee, Director David Lloyd Jones, a former resident of Llandudno. Great to see him again and catch up with all things Swansea too! He chatted to Sherrie- he Directed her panto at Sunderland about six years ago.

1H0A0816_©Paul Sampson 1H0A0879_©Paul Sampson

Photos by Paul Sampson

Sherries family were in to see the show again- both last night and tonight- its a big family affair for her here in Llandudno!

Our 5pm show visit was from Qdos co-owners Nick and Sandra Thomas. Lovely to see them again- they are now en route to Hull to look in on that panto (sending my greetings to Simon Webbe) and Crewe with I think about another two to look in on as they head back towards Scarborough.

1H0A0850_©Paul Sampson

Photo by Paul Sampson

A lovely meal and a few drinks with some of the company at The Albert tonight- one of my all time favourite pubs in this gorgeous town, then back to rest before the very last four shows left! Tomorrow we have two at 2pm and 7pm followed by our Panto leaving Party! We’ll join up with the Panto crowd from Theatr Colwyn there too- It will be lovely to see Stuart Loughland, Libby Edwards, Steve Bloor, Lukas Kirkby and the Magic Light Company at the “do” tomorrow.

Tomorrow later time of 2pm and 7pm.

Beauty’s Boxing Day!

IMG_1493

The Great Orme!

Christmas Day for many was a day spent after driving vast distances across the country. Elle and the girls drove to Brighton and back to be with families, Liam and Kieran, Helen, Sherrie, Will, Harriet & Jamie and Rachel & Bethan all drove . I was lucky, my family and friends came here to see the Panto and to spend Christmas Day at the Hotel, joined by Andrew Ryan. They then returned Boxing Day to see Peter Pan at Birmingham Rep and Snow White (with Andrew) at the Hippodrome in the evening.

IMG_1490 7bd6239f-c0ce-4ce1-a54f-5d297d6e76c7

Up The Orme- Andrew, Vivyan, Nigel & Owen 

Adam played chef for the remainers-He cooked up a storm in the Ensemble digs. Here they are enjoying the Baker Feast 2019!

0e129a3e-64c9-4396-8e57-b2d3745d45c7

I had a great Christmas, loving the fact that my Hotel was full of dogs. Paradise! We ventured up the Orme and along the Prom. A great relaxing day.

Boxing Day Dippers!

I had promised Angela OGrady Mayor of Llandudno that I would be on hand at 11am to launch the Boxing Day DFip in the Sea! It is an annual event- for over 26 years, organised for Charity by the British Lions. I arrived at The St George’s to judge the fancy Dress Competition of bathers Pre dip. Winners were a group of Santa’s Reindeers, Second was Pamela Andreson & The Hoff, and third were two Wonder Women!

IMG_1526

Me and The Mayor. She went into the sea too!

IMG_1530 IMG_1534 IMG_1524

The Festive Dippers!

All praise to those brave folk who plunged into minus goodness knows what to raise funds for charities!

I had to make a hasty retreat to the Theatre for our 1am show. Great houses for both shows- lots of Adults and consequently lots of laughs. We have fun the audience and us up on stage. It is a party- and both houses had a great Boxing Day!

IMG_1473 (1)

IMG_1538

Both sets of the Pearl Shaw Juvenile Dancers have had Christmas Parties- Thanks for the invites girls!

1H0A0676_©Paul Sampson.jpg

Photo by Paul Sampson.

We also had our Secret Santa today- held on stage after the matinee, before the Babes Party and I still found time for a doze and a tidy up and a pre pack before the 5pm show!

IMG_1536 (1)

Secret Santa on stage

IMG_1480 IMG_1477

The packing has started!We finish in three short days!

1H0A0709_©Paul Sampson

A Whirlwind of Babes Parties, Secret Santas and shows! Photo Paul Sampson

Time has flown, and now as we near the end of a hugely happy season, the time is positively racing! On Sunday during the last show Christina will be doing my packing as she has done each time I’ve appeared here! By 7.30pm it will all be ready for the van!

1H0A0956_©Paul Sampson

Photo courtesy of Paul Sampson.

Tomorrow is our Relaxed Performance at 1pm followed by a 5pm show. I love relaxed performances, and the fact that we can reach out to audiences that otherwise not wish to sit through a show. Its a really great feel good show we have ahead of us!

BeautyChristmas Greetings!

IMG_1467

Photo by Paul Sampson

The Twelve Days of Christmas  Routine, seen above has almost completed- today is the 23rd December- I’m writing this in haste on the morning of the 24th- Christmas Eve in a calm and peaceful Llandudno!

your-visit-900x505

Yesterday saw our two panto shows at the now usual 1pm and 5pm. Very well received and a lot of fun was had with our audiences, letting them into the fun and I think demonstrating what a happy company of strolling players we are, enjoying each others company both on and off stage. I think that comes over very strongly.

Paul Sampson the photographer was in the wings taking some shots to be shared later of life backstage. Waiting for me after was James Arnott, who has been seeing quite a few Pantomimes, including the lavish Palladium this season. He is now responsible for a magazine devoted to the intrinsic British art of Punch & Judy.

IMG_1463

After the show I joined Sherrie and her family (I think there were about fourteen of them) for a glorious meal at the St George’s on the promenade. A lovely family Christmas affair!

IMG_1464

Photo by Paul Sampson

For now I’ll leave you with Christmas Greetings from all of us here in Llandudno- Two shows today then joined here by friends and family for Christmas Day. Here’s to all of you travelling on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Merry Christmas!

VCL499_-_Llandudno_Poster_2019-2020_800_1131

Beauty- Three Sleeps!

IMG_1436

The Little Orme & Sam The Seagull

Sunday 22nd December

A two show 1pm and 5pm show today on a Sunday. Packed houses and a lot of adults, so a joyous response to the gags and routines and again you can’t beat a ghost gag for the kids!

IMG_1443

Photo Paul Sampson @DocumentConwy

We had a visitor today- Jake Hind from Qdos- lovely to see him again. He’s en route from us to Crewe Panto, and called in to see the Matinee.

IMG_1441

Abiola as Fairy Aurora in Act Two

We’ve lots of friends and family in the audiences now as we near Christmas- Harriet’s Mum was in, and Kieran has friends in- Sherrie’s family are due tomorrow. My Brother Vivyan and our friend Owen arrive Christmas Eve to see the show- Owen has jusDirected the Panto at The Kenneth More Theatre Ilford with our mate Bobby Crush playing Dame. Vivyan of course ran the KMT until his retirement, directing forty odd years of Panto there.

IMG_1445

Photo @DocumentConwy 

A few of the Cast here will be heading for Chez Prince Harry, AKA Adam where I believe he will be cooking up a storm! I have huge admiration for Panto troupers all over the UK who manage to turn digs into homes and take the time to shop and prepare and cook when far away from home. It is always the lot of the Panto performer since Victorian times. God Bless them one and all!

IMG_1444

Its Behind You! Photo Paul Sampson

It was cooler backstage today- outside it was breezy, which was a lot more comfortable than yesterday. My mate Nigel Catmur is still next door, lighting the massive choral evening for S4C in the Arena, and leaves tomorrow for home.

IMG_1446

The Prince & Princess Harriet and Adam. Photo Paul Sampson

A group of us headed for “The Albert” for an evening of food and drinks before heading to our various abodes. One of the great things about a 5pm show is you can still get a meal after! Tomorrow (Monday) the same- 1pm and 5pm.

IMG_1442.JPG

Nighty Nighty! Photo Paul Sampson

 

 

Beauty twice daily!

IMG_1437My My Walk to work

A glorious calm day here in Llandudno- actually too warm in the Theatre- didn’t expect to be typing THAT in December! The sun was shining and the town looks lovely- independant shops doing a roaring trade, restaurants and all. I had a brief wander before heading in for our grown ups shows, now the schools shows have finished. Its back to that demographic of gags getting laughs where they didnt in school shows, and the “accidentals” in the show get bit woofs of laughter. The Ghost gag and twelve days worked so well both shows today. Nice atmosphere.

IMG_1409

Photo by Paul Sampson

Yesterday was a day off- just as well for those who ventured out on the Twelve Pubs of Christmas tour the night before! A VERY Merry time was had apparently!

IMG_1361 IMG_1406

Photos by Paul Samson

Today Will and Robert and Kieran arrived in my room between shows- Will having bought cream tea a plenty – so we sat and scoffed scones, jam and cream and sipped tea in between the 2pm and 7pm shows! A treat! Lesley Joseph if you are reading this, THIS is your idea of heaven!

IMG_1411 IMG_1412

The Walkdown: Photos by Paul Sampson

Talking of Lesley- The Birmingham Hippodrome “Snow White” opened today. Andrew Ryan kept me abreast of the proceedings, and they got a glorious standing ovation and opened to a great reception. Here are a few photos- some of Andrew posing with the Bullring’s Bull, decked out as a Bovine Dame. The Statue that is. Not Andrew! I look forward to seeing the show and spending New Years Eve with The Brum company next week!

IMG_1431

The Birmingham Hippo CompanyIMG_1430

Andrew Ryan at The Bullring

Met up with my chum Nigel Catmur at The Imperial again tonight- second night running. He’s lighting the SC4 Carol concert and shows at the VC Arena over the next few days. Great to see him again.

Both our shows went down very well today, great reaction, and lovely to get that crackle from the demographic of mixed adult and children both enjoying the show andboth adults and kids getting “The Full Monty”!. I had a wig malfunction tonight when in reacting to Kieran and Sherry in my haunted bed, my wig decided to adhere itself to the pillow as if by velcro. I didnt realise for a few seconds, thinking the big laugh was aimed at Kieran, then felt a draught where my wig SHOULD be! I was sitting up in bed with just a stocking top and a microphone exposed!

Tomorrow 1pm and 7pm.