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A Dame’s Diary: Birmingham Panto!

January 25, 2013

My busman’s holiday- a glorious week in Birmingham, my home from home, watching “Robinson Crusoe” at The Birmingham Hippodrome- Britain’s Biggest Pantomime!

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A jaw dropping experience- pantomime, thrill ride, spectacle and of course huge doses of comedy- this is a panto that would have put the Palladium in the shade- it truly is an extravagant and lavish feast for the eyes! Packed to the rafters the audiences get to enjoy this show until Sunday 27th. It is also packed full of my mates, so I’ve had the additional pleasure of spending time with them all and having a right social time!

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The show stars Brian Conley as Crusoe,  and Lesley Joseph alongside Kathryn Rooney as Polly,, Andrew Ryan,as Mrs Crusoe,-Enchantress Of The Ocean Gavin Woods as Villain, James Paterson as Major General with Earl R Perkins as Friday.

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The Ensemble numbers a staggering ten bolstered by the Mazeppa Cossocks as Pirates and speciality Act! The Ensemble are Simon Campbell, Stephanie Elstob, Rachel Ensor, Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, James Hughes-Ward, Jane Mcmurtrie, Sergio Milella, Elliott Nixon, Soeli Parry and Kimmi Richards.

Produced and directed by Michael Harrison, it is choreographed by Karen Bruce. Wardrobe Supervisor is Tony Priestley assisted by Catherine Kinson (Kat) Helen Reeve and Roanne Bray with Paul Bouchier as Company Stage Manager, DSM Martin Hinkins Technical ASM Mathew David Breen and ASM Alex Boucher. Understudies are Anne Smith and Will Breckin.

Danny Adams, Michael Harrison, Stuart Griffiths

Danny Adams, Michael Harrison, Stuart Griffiths

Nathan, Amy, Chris, Jason

Nathan, Amy, Chris, Jason

I had a great time at the panto- and ended up seeing it three times- more pyrotechnics than there are in heaven! Ships sailed on, cars flew, fairies and mermaids and sea monsters, and twelve costume changes from Andrew Ryan all stunning and super fast!

Visiting Birmingham Panto (as they had at Wolverhampton ) wereThe Two Davids accompanied by Jean Bayliss. Jean met up with Tony Priestly, Wardrobe Supervisor- it was their first meeting since they did panto together at the London Palladium in 1968!

Visitors included my panto friends from “Jack & The Beanstalk”, Sherrie Hewson, Ken Morley and Ben James Ellis- great to enjoy an evening at the panto and a meal out afterwards. My lovely Wardrobe lady Fiona and Martin joined us to see the show- great to see her again before she leaves to supervise “Thriller” on tour in South America!

Panto Dame Chris Hayward and Nathan Daniel joined us on Thursday- they have finished their run in Newcastle,and joined the Birmingham cast for for the panto party, during which the prestigious in house panto awards were given out.

Tony Peers, Nick Thomas, Jonathan Kiley

Tony Peers, Nick Thomas,  Jonathan Kiley

Clive Webb, Anne, Philip Bernais

Clive Webb, Anne, Philip Bernais

Marti Webb, Paul Bouchier

Marti Webb, Paul Bouchier

The panto party was hosted by Nick Thomas, head of Qdos and Stuart Griffiths the CEO of The Hippodrome, along with Michael Harrison and Jonathan Kiley. Presenting the awards was Marti Webb, and veteran comedian/producer Tony Peers was there for the evening.

From Newcastle Clive Webb and Danny Adams along with Clive’s wife Anne and Amy Bruce, Principal Girl at The Theatre Royal meeting up with Chris Hayward- The Empress Of China, AKA Rita!

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It was a great night in Britains biggest venue celebrating the joy of a highly succesful pantomime. A good time? Oh yes we did!

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Andrew & Anne Smith

Andrew & Anne Smith

Wardrobe Awards

Wardrobe Awards

Mel & Cherry BSS

Mel & Cherry BSS

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Jonathan, Chris, Elliott, Sergio

Jonathan, Chris, Elliott, Sergio

The Hippodrome runs until Sunday night then its all packed up until next year. What a great week I’ve had- a big thank you to all at the Hippodrome!

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