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A Dame’s Diary: Monday 31st December

December 31, 2012

Well, the Panto Lurgie struck at Dame Trott Boys And Girls- The poor soul is now croaking her way through the show. I felt a lessening of volume about two days ago, and since then despite every trick of the trade, it has deepened. Last night I sounded like the love child of Dierdre Barlow and Barry White!

Whilst deeply annoying that you no longer have control over your golden organ, I can count myself lucky that I am not a singer. A Dame could possibly sound this way, but a singer would be at a complete loss. The tricks of the trade employed, apart from the usual Lemsips, and the odd Fisherman’s Friend are:  Nice and horrid.

The “nice” rememdy is a chinese herbal linctus much favoured by the “West End Wendy”- the singers who rely on perfect throats to sail through Wicked, Les Mis and the like. I was first introduced to this remedy by Michelle Potter, currently in Mama Mia- and highly recommended by Louise Dearman, currently in Wicked. It is a thick cherry flavoured liquid you can dilute with hot water and add a spoon of honey. The West End swears by it, and I have a giant bottle.

The second “Nasty” remedy is a horrid tasting vinegar concoction as old as panto I think! It is called Sanderson’s Specific, and you gargle with it before attempting to swallow it. It is very unpleasant but it can provide a bit more volume to get you through a show. I’ve been regularly using both during the past few days, and haven’t noticed a jot of difference! Add to this an occupational hazard- a very stiff neck, brought on by the combination of heavy wigs, raked stage and heels, and poor Trotty is in need of a day off!

Fortunately we have New Year’s Day off, after twelve shows. Looking forward to resting the voice. The neck has been sorted superbly by Paul, who, as a former Acraloon and current acrobat is used to dealing with injuries and sprains. Thank you Mr Rivers for allowing me to look left, right then left again before crossing the road!

The shows are going superbly- even with a voiceless Dame- and packed to the rafters. Getting some lovely feedback on line, including one comment I’ll add to this blog from Ian Carr who saw the show on Friday. Thanks for the lovely words Ian!

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We’ve had a few meals recently- so good to have proper food in place of sandwiches. We all joined Sherrie, Ken and Sherrie’s friends, X Factor’s Johnny Robinson and Karl Newton, editor of This Morning and Producer of Loose Women- at the Italian. The company went out afterwards for a boogie and the boring Dame took the path to bed!

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We also had a jolly Chinese Meal last night, joined by Paul’s family, Sherrie and my friend Daniel Dawson.

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Daniel, as readers of IBY will know, spends the festive season seeing as many pantomimes as he can, and very kindly blogs his experiences, and gives his personal awards at the conclusion of Panto season. To date he has seen Twenty-Two pantomimes this season, and there are more to come! He arrived here in Wolverhampton fresh from Southampton Mayflower, and is seeing the Birmingham Hippodrome tomorrow. It is an epic journey around Pantoland, and it was great to catch up with him last night!

Our Director Andrew Lynford arrived yesterday to see the matinee, and to give a few “tightening up” notes about the show. Pantomimes can “stretch” a little bit, and the Director and Choreographer will make a visit during the run to put it back on to the course if neccessary. It was good to see him, and we’ll be seeing Andrew before the end of the run- hopefully for the last night festivities as well.

Talking of “last Nights”, a few pantomimes around the country ended on Saturday, and some on Sunday. I noted that the Shaw Panto in London has finished, and Llandudno Peter Pan has flown off to Neverland, even if Barney Harwood hasn’t ended his journey. Barney will switch roles and head to Cardiff to stand in for Joe Pasquale on certain pre arranged dates. Joe will be dancing on ice on a few days during the run there.

I’ve missed out on “Fat Club” while I’ve been, in the words of Reg Dixon “Proper Poorly”- I wonder how many readers of this blog will even recognise or remember dear old Reg? That is going back a bit in my history- to when I played Goose in Coventry!

Two shows today, and hoping my voice will hang on in there. Thank goodness for Fiona in the Quick Change room. It is like having Matron in the ward 24/7 as she checks if I’ve taken my medication and helps me change effortlessly and makes sure I have everything I need to hand. Thank you Fiona- You are the wind beneath my wigs!

Happy New Year to everyone in Pantoland. I shall return in 2013 with further adventures, including Blogs from The Babes, From The Crew and wardrobe, and features on our Stella Cast.

Have a good one everybody!

  1. Ian Carr permalink

    reg dixon! confidentualy! my mother recomends a mix of butter, honey suger and vinegar, its revolting but shes 85, and only plays piano now, but she was a trained singer,ive used tihs mix and it works… well as well as any effort you can take before you go on then the gods take over¬ and they still exist at the grand!

  2. Hi Nigel,
    Loving the blog, it’s Scott – I came and did a blog for the theatre at a school in Bilston during your roadshow this year, I tried to post this before, not sure it worked, but hey I’m sure you’re already aware of these with your infinite pant knowledge but here’s a list of the past Jack And The Beanstalk productions at the Wolverhampton Grand. Thought it might be of interest! Hope the run is going well!

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