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Blodwyn’s Blog: Day Two

November 26, 2013

The Rehearsal Rooms

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Andy, Matthew. Lisa and Michael with David on Piano.

Today was work through Act Two day- arrived at ten o’clock to join David MD and Brendan to sing our way through the show’s anthem- “North Wales!” It is based on one of the songs from “Priscilla” and predates the musical, but I was very conscious that the star of the West End “Priscilla”, one Oliver Thornton was rehearsing next door. Now, given Brendan’s fondness for a coach, I think he might well think a new tour of “Priscilla” is taking place in the next room! I must give Ray Meagher a ring and tell him- he worked alongside Ollie in the Palace production. Talking of Aussie  Soap stars, Marc Mulcahey who was our Aladdin at Llandudno two years ago started on Ramsey Street yesterday! Go Marc!

Having sung ourselves hoarse, we joined the rest of the company in the bigger room to run block and set Act Two in motion. In between scenes the activities included sword fighting- Darren and Adam being instructed by a fight director for a few hours, and mirror routine learning. John and I have started to set the routine, and I got a glimpse of his costume- Qdos have created an exact copy of mine, and very splendid it looks. we’ll run it through every day from now on until we get it as we want it. It really is a fun piece of business to do as well. One of my favourites.

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There was a point today when I mused at the spectrum of British humour. There we were in a room-Lined up- a man who will be dressed as a bird, a man who will be dressed as a Super Hero, a man wielding a sword, another man wielding a sword and a man dressed as a jar of vegetable spread. Three people watched and made notes, one told us where to stand for the best comic effect and, well.. there you have it really. That is why panto is unique! Where else in this wide world would grown ups do this- and- for a living?!

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Lizzie and David

Sad sad news today in Pantoland. The veteran entertainer and actor Stan Stennett has died aged 88. Stan was planning a Christmas panto appearance. Growing up in South Wales I cannot underestimate the enormous star quality of this man. A Welsh comic who played Swansea Empire, The Palace, The Grand Theatre and took his act to the Victoria Palace, on Radio, Television and to America. Stan fronted the B&W Minstrel show on television for years. He was a huge pantomime star performing as “Billy & Bonzo” (His mascot dog) and as a producer of pantomimes in Wales, in Hereford and Gloucester and across the UK. A star of the original “Crossroads” for ATV he is a legend and will not be forgotten, especially in the Welsh Valleys. Thanks Stan for all the magic.

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Stan Stennett

We rehearsed putting a Prince in a cage and releasing him. Good conquered evil by tea time, and evil, in the shape of Vicky was well and truly thwarted. Then these grown ups discussed at length what they planned to do with various props including Smelly Socks and cooking Pots in the routine that has become a pantomime favourite across the land.. “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”.. one of those “who is having more fun” routines- us up there or them out there? In true panto tradition it will be “A Draw!”

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Leona and Helen held costume fittings with the company throughout the day, taking costumes out of the giant blue Tardis like wardrobe boxes that have arrived. Brendan looked extremely well turned out in his Kingly robes, and we all did a huge “ahhhh” at Charlotte’s finale dress, as you should on her happy ever after wedding day frock.

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Helen & Leona and the “Tardis” Boxes!

My frocks are somewhere in Beverley or Scarborough, and will wend their way to Venue Cymru on Sunday, and head for the Quick Change Area for sorting. At the moment I think I have fourteen changes. That may just be my record!

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Thoughts tonight for the Opening of Newcastle’s “Jack & The Beanstalk” – Michael Harrison’s eagerly awaited spectacle will open its doors today- and Dame Rita Trott in the guise of Chris Hayward will take to the stage. Have a great night Chris and Nathan. Its Roadshow  Nathan Daniel’s birthday today too- what a great way to spend it- and hello to Rob Clayton up there too. Have a great night guys!

Andrew Ryan is now on the stage with the “Cinderella” he’s directing in Mansfield. Tonight everything stops for the arrival of the stars of the transformation- the white Shetland Ponies- it will be their first time on the stage this year. That show opens on Saturday, then Andrew takes off his director hat and heads for Crusoe’s desert Island two days later to give his Mrs Crusoe.

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