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Birmingham Panto Launch

June 19, 2012

“Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates”

 June 16th 2012

 On Monday, Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos launched the Swashbuckling Pantomime, Robinson Crusoe, and the Caribbean Pirates. Andrew Ryan plays Mrs Crusoe in the show, and we’ve persuaded him to make his first blog on IBY. Over to Andrew!

 With an early start Monday morning for the press call, we all travelled to Birmingham on the Sunday. I drove up, as it makes life so much easier when you  bring your own costumes. I managed to drop them off in the theatre ready for the next day’s rush.  We gathered at 8pmin the hotel bar, except for Brian Conley who was on a train fromEdinburgh where he had just performed a matinee of “Oliver! Brian is currently touring as Fagin.

Kathryn Rooney was  slightly late as she was singing in a charity concert the other side of Birmingham. Lesley Joseph joined us direct from Norwich where she had been appearing in the stage show of “Birds Of A Feather”, and joined Michael Harrison, our producer and director.  Ian Wilson along with Adrian Lesurf from marketing and I all got together for an evening of catching up.Managed to catch Brian in the foyer as we all turned in for a 9am start at the Hippodrome.

      

Left the hotel at ten to nine , and arrived at the theatre to be met by Ian Sandy – company manager extrordinare , booker for The Pantomime Roadshow which Nigel(Ellacott) and I do each year, and friend of many years. He showed us all to our respective dressing rooms –( we could only use two  rooms in the main theatre as the Birmingham Royal Ballet are in residence this week and space, for them is at a premium) and mine was in the Patrick Centre.

Andrew, Mandy and Ian

The Original plan for the day, was for photographs to be taken in the street outside , with appropriateCaribbeandressings to adorn the theatre. A change of location was called for due to the threat of more rain, so the stage of the Patrick Centre was transformed into a tropical island complete with Boats , flaming skull sculptures and the stern of a galleon and a neon palm tree!!!!!

Once made up, I was helped into the many layers of costume , by Nigel’s old friend Roanne Bray -she was his dresser when he was in Cinderella here five years ago. I also stood in for her for one show  during that run ,when she developed an allergy to the ponies,  and ended up in hospital. I’d seen the show the previous night , was in the area, and as I know Nigel’s frocks well, I was the obvious choice to step in and be her “understudy”

On schedule we began photos with the press at ten o’clock on our beautiful desert isle. Brian took the ship’s wheel and we crowded round. Leslie and Brian were required to sit on crates of cargo brandishing wands and swords respectively, while Kathryn and I were photographed rowing a small boat under the light of the afore mentioned neon palm tree.

   

Press interviews followed as we rotated between the awaiting journalists,  which was  stage managed brilliantly by our crack team, and co-ordinated by Mandy Rose, The Press and Public Relations officer.

Kathryn and I had a short break while Brain and Leslie filmed a TV commercial for the pantomime, to be shown nearer our opening date. This gave me  a chance to say hello to Heidi Harper (Qdos wardrobe department) who was there to coordinate the costumes for the day. She made one of my costumes a few years ago, when I was playing Twankey in Aladdin at Nottingham Theatre Royal.

There was a half hour break for lunch – sandwiches, fruit and nibbles, provided by the theatre – very nice thank you – as the groups of party bookers and theatre friends arrive –our audience for the afternoon  in the Patrick Centre.  The post lunch presentation was hosted by Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of The Hippodrome, and Michael Harrison, Managing Director of Qdos.

      

We were to be introduced and interviewed – a prospect which, despite our chosen profession of appearing before hundreds of people nightly – is a little daunting. However it all proceeded smoothly and without a false eyelash ruffled!

Still in costume and make-up we were ushered into one of the front of house bars, and  finally,  we had our chance to meet the audience– and what a great crowd they were, all of them exited at the prospect of another fabulous pantomime at the Birmingham Hippodrome. . Photos were taken and banter was banted, before we were lead away like unwilling children ,who wanted to stay up and play just a little bit longer.

         

Once out of costume and make-up, the car was packed ready for the journey back home . We all said good bye and headed our separate ways.

It’s only June , but the juggernaut  that is pantomime, is  picking up speed.

I for one am really looking forward to spending a season inBirmingham in what I know is going to be a spectacular show.

From → Miscellaneous

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