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Diary Day Four

November 30, 2012

Thursday 29th November

A very productive day in Pantoland! Today we ran the show in the large rehearsal room with the eight ensemble joining us, and the dance routines and most of the songs slotted in.

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This is when you begin to see the show as a whole I suppose, thinking about it. There are times when we, the performers become an audience- we’re seeing dance routines executed in front of us for the first time, and we hear numbers we’ve only read the lyrics for in the script. It is a day of coming together script wise too- my first day without using “the book”, the name we give to the scribbled in, and frequently coffee marked script we have clutched like a liferaft for the past three days! The book was down, and although obviously we flounder (many nautical references tonight!) while fishing (oh dear) for lines- mostly we are all now completely sans script.

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The script won’t be abandoned for a while- oh dear no! It is used to confirm “what’s next!” and “Am I IN this bit” as the show is unfolded, and brought back when cuts happen, as tends to do after timings are taken on runs.

Having all of us in one room was very heartening- like when new celebs join you in the jungle camp! We certainly fill the vast space a little better now! We ran the show top to bottom, with numbers inserted, and had some time today to go into more detail on certain scenes. Andrew removed some words here, added a few beats there to tighten the flow of the dialogue, and to tighten the timing in comedy routines. There’s not a shortage of timing with the comics in our show- it is rare to have this many established comic performers in one panto,and a director who references comic routines and knows his comedic history- and it shows, even though I say it myself. Keith’s comic timing plus Ken’s comedic timing plus Sherrie’s wealthy of comedy timing plus (I hope) mine adds up to a bit of zingy dialogue and we hope, loads of laughs! There is a silly scene which I think is beginning to be a contender for favourite, involving grown men doing silly walks – you can’t go wrong can you?

Andrew (Lynford) and I discussed today the fact that we have known each other for something like Twenty Five Years! Andrew was a local lad who spent quite a time doing shows at the Kenneth More Theatre East London as a young man- in fact while still at school, and before he headed off to appear regularly in “EastEnders”- I recently went to see his show at the Arts Theatre- he directed it- about the comedian Max Miller- and Andrew is a wealth of Variety references that go over most heads except – perhaps not surprisingly- Keith, Ken, Sherrie and Myself”. References to “Elsie And Doris” aren’t picked up by the younger crew!

Andrew Lynford & Nigel Ellacott

Andrew Lynford & Nigel Ellacott

I ran my Copa number through twice today, and all seems well. I’ve not actually turned around to see what is happening around me- I’m too intent on the new lyrics “wot I wrote”, but by the speed of the bodies hurtling past me, I think Steven has choreographed up a storm. We all loved watching the “I’m A Believer” (not a Belieber as I believe is the phrase!) routine- that is going to be hugely popular with the kids- its a good get up out of your seat and dance moment.

In the lunchbreak I went in search of the elusive Nottingham crowd, and tracked them to a pub across the road! Had a lovely gossip and catch up with Paul Gabriel, Martin Ramsdin and David Robbins, and lovely to meet Adam Booth and Chris Milford. Shame is was so short a time, but glad we managed it this week. Also heard from my Llandudno mate John Evans- he’s rehearsing a few miles up the road for “Peter Pan”- and we had a text chat during the journey home. He’s having a great time as Mr Smee and enjoying the company of Barney Harwood and the superb Captain Hook that is Michael Howe.

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Sherrie has been a busy lady today. I may have this wrong but I think she did one Daybreak appearance and one- possibly two “Loose Women” appearances today- her last this week until after Christmas. He guest today had been Ann Widdicombe- starring in Panto herself again this season with Craig Revell-Horewood.

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I was a bit weary heading for the tube, and preoccupied reading texts. That is how I heard the tube announcement…”Alight here for Buckingham Palace…” when I should have been four stops in the opposite direction. I’ve played the odd “Palace” but this was the wrong one at the wrong time! I added thirty minutes to my journey home!

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