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The Final Shows: Snow White 2022

a lot of fun!

The Final Day. We Made It!! We actually made it through as a company-That includes our amazing stage crew headed by Alan- made it through the entire run with nobody testing positive, and nobody off! Nearly forty shows here at the New Theatre. Gold stars all round!

Faye and the Royal courtiers
Queen Lucretia- Poppy

We had our Director David Burrows and a Crossroads Pantomimes producer Jake Hind in to see the matinee today- Lovely to have David see how his panto has matured over the past few weeks.

We did a matinee at 1pm. By this time I’d moved my two large cardboard skips on stage to the Quick Change area, and “bagged” the two dress rails, ready for Gail and I to bag up the costumes as we went along on the second show. Wigs in one skip, shoes & accessories in the other.

Empty Rooms…..

Here;s my dressing room by halfway through the second show! I have it down to a fine art now, and everything was packed as we went along, wrapped and bagged, so that by the finale only my finale costume remained to be put in the bag, and the rail zipped up.

Love me or hate me!

Working with Neil has been a joy. Truly. We both looked forward to The Lip Synch scene with Corey, the Bedroom Scene and the “Shirley Shaw” scene with Poppy a lot. I’m a performer used to working alongside another comic- for twenty eight years Peter Robbins and I bounced off each other. Working with a Neil, A John Evans, a Chris Jarvis or an Andy Ford in Pantomime, and the old training comes back instantly!

The New Theatre

The sounds in the corridor I will miss- the Lads and lasses playing games, chatting, having a really good time in each others company- back home it is going to feel very very quiet- especially not really going out and about in London until this virus lessens its grip on all of us. The repartee on stage, in the wings and generally the buzz of live theatre- its kind of what gives us the energy we apply on stage. A truly lovely warm and damned NICE lot of people- who after tonight go on to different jobs, different towns and in Faye’s case- a different country with “Chicago” as from tomorrow!

It has been a huge privilege to work with these lovely people, crew, musicians, wardrobe and our lovely Director and choreographer- David and Jonathan. We were truly blessed.

From all of us in “Snow White”- Farewell!

Here’s to the next time. May there be more Pantomimes and far less Covid by then. Thanks for reading this blog- hope you’ve enjoyed. From all of us- Thank you, and Happy New Year!

New Years Eve Snow White

New Year’s Eve!

Our New Year’s Eve shows today at 1pm and 5pm. This is the end of a twelve show week, and we return after a day off tomorrow to do two last shows on Sunday 2nd January. Both houses were great- we had Rachel Crowfrom marketing in to see us, along with her husband Roger (The Matinee victim of Nurse Nigella) and Yesterday I scanned the audience (Masked of course) and saw a familiar face- I thought I’d check, asked his name and it was Sam Mitchell- he was on the High Wycombe panto a few years back, and lives locally. So Sam became The Dame Victim that show!

Lucretia vamping Prince Harry!

First show was very boisterous and fun, and between shows I prepared the Quick Change area ready for pack as we go on Sunday Evening. The dressing room is all but cleared, and very bare it looks now- the kettle stays for a last internet cuppa and natter with Neil – I will miss our tea break natterings very much!

The Flatlence inducing potion!

The plan after the second show is for a drink in a private area we’ve booked to celebrate a New Year- posh clothes for the first time, and maybe a sequinned face mask or two. The Second show was a very frisky one and again a joy to be onstage with this lovely bunch of people.

Pictures from Jon – I love this one!

Here I am asking the Man of the moment if He Loves me or hates me! Costume was created by the very talented Andrew Ryan a while back.

Mark and his drum kit!

Mark our talented Drummer has worked in York a good few times, and has worked with Paul Laidlaw, a favourite Dame at Stevenage for a good many years. I’ve worked with Paul in shows several times, including “Wind In The Willows” and “Perchance To Dream”.

Faye & Neil in the forest

All the costume bags are ready, and the costumes not used on the voyage are bagged on the rails. The two large skips will move next to the Quick Change on Sunday, one for wigs (I think I have about a dozen) and one for accessories, Shoes and Boots and Dressing room things- furry rug and make up box! Marmite travels in its own wrappings (stuffed with the duvet I sleep on between shows) and the “Strip” Screen of mine will also be put on the truck. It could be a while until they return to me, as Andrew’s costumes will join them at the end of the Brum Run.

Some very lovely Black & White shots from Jon- a beautiful quality to them.

After the show it was time for a bite to eat- my favourite haunt the HOH Department store, and a return to the hotel, a change of clothes and our Drink in our private area – no access to anyone else all areas!

A clever use of handbills to herald in the New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone out there in Pantoland and beyond. We return over the threshold on Sunday 2nd January 2022 for our final two shows, and look forward to seeing our lovely Director David for the matinee!

Thursday 30th December Snow White

A Two show day, and the last of our 7pm shows. For the next few shows we are 1pm and 5pm.

Its warmer! Outside thetemperature is unseasonably warm. So much so I was testing again after the first show, and relieved I was sweating because of the costume changes and not anything else. Today was the start of the end of the run preparations. I sought out my skips and costume bags, re-organised the Quick Change area for the get-out on Sunday. Nearly everything is on stage level, so dressing room wise there’s very little to be packed.

Both houses were great today. Poppy was saying how much the children contribute to the show – shouting out warnings, telling her off in no uncertain terms, and generally interacting from the off.

I think the Magnificent Seven and our Ensemble are planning some panto awards- there’s an air of mystery about the long corridor! There is such a great lively atmosphere in the dressing room corridor, a buzz that is a joy to be a part of. We are lucky .

The next four shows are going to fly past, and then on Sunday evening the stage will start to clear, to de rig and to decamp to Scarborough and to Beverley stores, just up the road.

Two tomorrow with a 1pm show then the New Year’s Eve 5pm show to follow!

Happy New Year!

Dec 29th Wednesday Snow Wh

Liam Prize Winner

Wednesday already- now onto the last run up to New Year’s day! Here’s Liam one of our Magnificent Seven. He’s been presented with a cup for winning Uno. I have no idea what that is, but I thought it merited a photo opportunity!

We are woefully short of production photos. Not one of the Ensemble. I’m hoping I recieve some more to put here on the blog, and I’m trying to secure them!

In the meantime, here’s that one of Neil having a lie-in. Today I discovered a little gift outside my dressing room door when I awoke from my between shows nap. A portion of a KFC. I have never tried one of these. Neil knew this. I have now tried it. Semi warm roadkill comes to mind! The thought that counts tho…

Two very perky shows. Loved doing them, we are all genuinely SO grateful to be able to do our jobs, and to hear the response, We are not taking this privilege lightly. The shows are joyful, we have fun bringing fun in a very lovely way. Neil and I had fun today in our bedroom scene, throwing in the odd “Mastermind” question.. “What do you call a Spanish Man who has come out of hospital? Manuel..” to “The Spanish man with a hole in his trousers.. Senor Willie..”… Wonder if Neil did these with Benidorm’s Jake Canuso last year!

PressCall

It is a joy working with this lovely bunch of professionals. I woke up in my room (on my duvet & furry rug) to hear the sounds around me. People chatting, people playing games, people enjoying the banter backstage, and I realised how hugely lucky we are to be working and to be gelling as a company so well. This is special, and Covid permitting, it is going to be a great memorable season.

The Orchestra Pit between Shows

Tomorrow two shows. Today our Front Of House visitor was our Crossroads Producer, Jonathan Kiley. Due to the restrictions he was unable to do the usual backstage visit on his tour of the Crossroads Pantos across the UK.

Our shows tomorrow are at 2pm and 7pm.

Tuesday Dec 28th Snow White

Here’s a picture taken by our Joshua Knight- I love this image! A beautiful shot of behind the scenes!

Today two shows at 1pm and again at 5pm. Good houses, and a great counterpoint to the dismal damp foggy weather outside. Very jolly first show, with the children very into the story, so much so they dictated how Snow White (Faye) should be brought back- so we followed orders!

Backstage on Stage left wing today!

The routine backstage begins with a physical and vocal warm up, then the half-hour call give by Ashley, and all goes quiet while panto folk apply make-up, get into costume, and then on beginners I’m usually in costume, and masked up to go upstairs and into the Quick Change room. The Crew, headed by Alan (He’s been here as long as I can remember- I’ll hazard a guess at forty years – are assembled in each wing. Around a dozen including Stage Elex, and above us Flymen and then at the back of the auditorium the follow spots, Josh on sound and an auditorium with ushers – We have our own Stage Management team of Matt, Ashley, Em and Josh, plus our three musicians- Jon, Lisa and Mark-our three wardrobe staff onstage- Jen, Eleanor and Gail, there’s Eddie on sound- so all in all an army of professionals to create the twice daily magic,

Gail & Alan

The 5pm were a jolly lot- more adults and fun to play to. The show is speedy and goes very quickly- I prefer that. No gaps- I have one that gives me time to make tea ready for the interval, otherwise that’s it for the show!

The time is passing so quickly, and the days blur as we approach New Year’s day- we have shows on New Year’s Eve, then a day off, and then finish on Monday with a final two shows.

Tomorrow a 2pm Show, and the Magic Of Pantomime is open for business!

Dec 27th Snow White

Some day my prints will come!

Hoping for a few production shots to come my way, as I have run out of photographs to put in this blog!

Two shows today- very good houses, and the second house especially were all out for a good time! It is great that we are able to bring a couple of hours of bright lights, magic and fun each show- in these gloomy times it is much needed.

Heard great news thyat the Hippodrome Birmingham shows were excellent, with Johnny Mack from Glasgow Panto stepping in to replace Matt Slack as Ringo the Ringmaster in “Goldilocks”. They rehearsed for a day, and Johhny got a well deserved standing ovation after each show. Matt will be away for the rest of the week as he isolates with Covid. The team work from the Hippo Company was proof of what professionals can do in a very short space of time!

The news or no news from Downing Street today looks as though we might get to complete our Panto run here in Hull. Stringent testing carries on, and fingers crossed we get to January 2nd. Each show is a bonus and a privilege to be able to perform, when so many of our mates can’t.

Funny moment of the day was dressing for the opening of the show in my Dressing room, going up to the Quick Change room to collect my wig, ready to go on and Dresser Gail starting to strip me ready for the next scene! A tad premature ! It gets like that after a twice daily 22 costume change day! I clung on to my clothes and made my entrance with dignity!

Tomorrow the last of this week’s 1pm and 5pm shows. We return to 2pm and 7pm on Wednesday.

Boxing Day Snow White 2021

A Boxing Day Greeting!

Boxing Day! Following a very lovely Christmas Day off. I was joined by Andrew Ryan- up from the Hippodrome “Goldilocks”, and we had a great day here in Hull. Took the opportunity to drive and walk around the Marina, and despite being bitterly cold, enjoyed the fresh air and a lot of good food!

Today’s show was at 1pm and again at 5pm. Both very jolly shows- the matinee had a lot of smaller children in, and the 5pm one more adults- I think our enjoyment of this show comes across to the audiences- it is a warm reception, and again we are all so grateful just to be working on Boxing Day when so many of our mates are not.

Nightie Nightie!

Great atmosphere after Christmas, finding out how Christmas Day was for Other folk, and hearing their stories. Andrew Ryan now back in Hippodrome is rehearsing today for the replacement of Matt Slack with Scotland’s own Johnny Mack. Matt has Covid and will be out of the Panto for the seven days coming up, isolating, and at incredibly short notice Johnny has come from his Panto closing in Glasgow on Christmas Eve to take over at The Hippo until Matt’s return.

Olly applying his make-up

So its back to work for us, all still hoping things continue here, and across England so that we can keep working and keep carrying on with the traditional Christmas Entertainment known as Pantomime.

Poppy Tierney as Queen Lucretia

Tonight I zoomed with Rob Laws in Crewe Panto and Will Jackson in Milton Keynes Panto, and chatted to Sherrie Hewson on a break from rehearsing “Fat Friends”, as well as catching up with the news from The Bristol and Birmingham Hippodromes.

Tomorrow we have the 1pm and 5pm shows again.

Christmas Eve – Two Shows

Christmas Eve!

Two shows today- at 1pm and again at 5pm. Our fourteenth show of the week tonight!

A lovely atmospsphere backstage- panto folk wrapping presents- getting ready to see friends, partners and relatives- and our “Secret Santa” on stage this morning at 11.30am before the Warm-up.

Matinee full to bursting and the same with the 5pm show. Great reaction to Poppy’s Wicked Queen tonight- the children of Hull really took agin her! (Spoiler alert!) Big reaction when her magic mirror got smashed! Neil set me a quiz in the interval on Panto Dames of the past- What memories there- Reg Dixon, Ronne Coyles, Jack Trip, So many lovely Dames.

The smiling face of Stage Door New Theatre Hull!

Had a great two shows, tinged with sadness at the finale for all our Panto mates in Norther Ireland, Wales and Scotland who have to finish their Pantomime runs tonight.

adopting the Wicked Queen’s prop Lizard!

Here’s Em with a festive backstage greeting.

Merry Christmas!

So two shows completed, fabulous houses, and now its Christmas Time. From Simon & Myself- have a Wonderful and safe Christmas! See you here on Boxing Day!

The Twelfth Show of the week

Stop in the name of love!

Today two very rowdy glorious shows. On e at 2pm and the second at 7pm. During a foggy damp morning I managed a trip to “Trinity Market”, and got my lunch sorted there- the inbetween lunch/dinner that is, and headed to the theatre where I could hear the strains of “Happy Birthday” being sung for one of our “Magnificent Seven”, Mark McMinn. who bless him, gave US all cake! His Mum created some amazing “Snow White ” and Panto themed cup cakes!

Thank you Mark’s Mum!

Celebrating a birthday is always fun, but having one during a panto run is even better. A Thousand people sang Mark “Happy Birthday” in the finale!

From The Deep

Both shows were great, and we really did have a lot of fun providing a lot of fun to the audiences. You feel everyone is out to make the most of things, unsure of what ghappens after Christmas. We are the lucky ones being able to Carry On performing. Our colleagues in Wales, in Scotland and in shows postponed or cancelled due to Covid have all our love- we know how important it is to make certain our audiences leave the theatre happy. We certainly do.

Greetings from Mark, Jon and Lisa

Tomorrow we have the final two shows before Christmas Day. Show 14 in the week tomorrow evening. Then everyone will be celebrating Christmas day, some travelling (not far this year) some seeing friends and relatives, some doing what Panto folk do in Pantoland- getting a few panto folk around to their digs. We are having the one day off, then back on Boxing Day.

Here’s a pic of Panto in LA- The Lythgoe “Robin Hood” in Laguna, with my mate Andrew Lynford giving his Sheriff of Nottingham!

Back in Hull I spent between shows repairing a couple of headdresses- glue gun and screwdriver to the fore, so no between shows nap for me! Keeping in touch with my mates out there with their shows- a good few will stop tomorrow and sadly finish their runs early, and hopefully we will carry on until told to close. Fingers Crossed we see New Year and beyond.

Tomorrow I might just manage a swift Blog- it being Christmas Eve I may just throw caution to the wind and have a sweet sherry and a sponge finger instead- but the blog will continue – Normal service if not tomorrow, on Boxing Day. Drop a message on the message board to let Simon & I know you are reading this!

Merry Christmas everyone from all of us here in Pantoland!

Dec 22nd. Solstice Pantos

Trinity Market & Area

A bright morning, so set off early to stroll around the Old Town, and the market- Trinity Market- made famous by my Act One song- with me dressed as Carmen Miranda with a ton of fruit on my head! Lovely buildings around the Cathedral, and so strange to walk around an almost deserted area that should be busy with shoppers.

“At The Market”

Passed the Covid vaccine pop up surgery in the Mall, and discovered walk-in is back, so put out a message- hopefully of use to our lot. Its a funny old world at the moment… our “One day at a time” hopes are in our minds as we see all the Pantos in Wales and Scotland will have to close on December 24th- so sad to see all those companies closing early, all that hard work too.

Hull Cathedral

Back in New Theatre Pantoland we carried on- two very full houses, and the audiences so ready to be entertained, to laugh and to join in.

The Finale set

Life carries on backstage- there is such a lovely atmosphere, we are all enjoying working and being together (yet distanced) this year- and the shows are really a reward for all the work that has gone in to making a good show. There are warm ups, and understudy rehearsals, Neil and I setting Variety quizzes with each other, the company enjoying the buzz and chatter in our long corridor- people wrapping presents, some like me having a doze between, others bringing food back in- its a proper community of Panto folk who are there to make the audiences have a brief respite from the dreadful news reports.

the quick change area

My cake stand wig decided to become the leaning tower of simulated pastries today, so that’s in the repair shop , replaced by the tall “Mr Whippy” wig until it is once again robust! In the great scheme of things… of zero importance, but thought I’d mention it.

Have scooter will travel

Our hard working backstage crew, led by resident SM Allan and our Crossroads Stage Management team deserve a huge shout out. Every prop is there, then struck, then replaced and all the scenery glides in and out like a well oiled machine. All mask wearing and covid regs adhered to- Hoorah for the people who make the Show tick over!

Josh

Tomorrow two shows and another Understudy Call before the matinee.