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Opening Show at Brick Lane!

January 19, 2016


Monday 18th January 2016

Today we rehearsed all day- starting at 10.30am and going through until around 7pm. We rehearsed numbers, routines and put the whole show together onstage during the afternoon, with the sound effect cues supplied by Anthony and lighting by Kevin. Stevin Marc (Steven Metcalf) was with us again all day, and he has sorted and dressed wigs for this show, and for the Irish Show to follow. It’s been great fun having him here during rehearsals.

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Hettie as Fairy Good. Sam and Tommy.

It was a long day, as there was so much to get through, having had the luxury of Saturday and Sunday off. We are off the book, which is a great help. I think having just finished a panto season (at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru) I am still geared up to learning, as I didn’t find it arduous, but maybe I’m speaking too soon! We have yet to open!


we’re still using the auditorium as well, but by tomorrow morning this space will be filled with fully laid tables, chairs and of course guests, as it is a sold out first performance, and a matinee tea!

By 5pm we had run through the show twice, more or less, adjusting as we went along. I wore all my costumes, collarsand headddresses, as I like to do, so that I don’t get any unexpected surprises when we open! The space here at Brick Lane backstage is liliputian, and space is at a premium, so it is best to make certain entrances and exits are in fact possible! Andrew will be discovering this as Dame Trott, as I did previously. I jettisoned a crinoline and abandoned a couple of headdresses when I realised less is more!

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By seven o’clock we’d run through the show, and left Brick Lane Music Hall for the extremely cold streets beside the Thames. It is very cold, and the Docklands Light Railway is perched high up in the wind from the river- I was very pleased to get in and get warm. One day I would love to do panto in the Summer- the last time was in 1977 at the Gaiety Theatre in Rhyl!


Tuesday- Opening Day!

The Music Hall has been given a “Russian” influence this year, with the walls swagged and draped in crushed velvet, and a “Forest” theme to the bar and foyer. It does look very inviting. we arrived at just after ten o’clock this morning to get ready for a full dress rehearsal (without make-up) while the tables were laid in readiness for Oscar to open the doors to this afternoon’s guests. They will arrive at 1pm, and we open the show at 2pm, with a break between 3pm and 4pm for the afternoon tea to be served.

The Dress rehearsal went well, although there are still a few bits that, in the passing of time will be smoothed out. In the run through Act One ran for fifty minutes, which is about right, Act Two is shorter. Act two has to add to the running time two things-including the party lists, and the bouquets of flowers to party organisers. A nice touch. They do a lot of work to get everyone in one place at the right time.

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Rusty has the “Guest” starring role that means he is not needed until Act Two, and so far he has been to each and every rehearsal from start to finish. Once we open he will be able to arrive later, and get ready in the luxury of an empty dressing room while we are all on stage!

By 1pm we were getting ready for the show. That concentrated quiet I’ve written about often takes place. People are putting on make-up. Trying to sort out how costumes go on, and generally going through lines in their heads. Lyrics frighten me, so I will always go over a song many times. This year, for the first time ever I have some rhyming couplets to deliver- they frighten me too! As a panto writer I have dished them out, and now it is my turn to suffer! You can’t “ad Lib” a rhyme easily if you forget it!


At 2pm we went up. The first thing that happens to you as you enter is obviously taking in your audience- giving it “full out front”, and trying to guess where (or if!) the laughs will come. You think you know, but often an audience will laugh in a completely different place- I was extremely gladdened that I got a few good laughs on the first entrance, and that really sets you up for the rest!


Vincent put it very well today in his notes. He told each and every one of us that mainly we are there to make an audience laugh, and to let them have fun. They do that more easily if WE are having fun I believe, and he also told us that each one of us individually needs to be on star as a star in this glittering gem of a Music Hall. So that’s what we did!

The first half was possibly about 55 minutes, and this will be trimmed tomorrow before the show. The cakes and sandwiches arrived. Poison Ivy removed the red lip glitter with the aid of some parcel tape and attacked scones and danish pastries before changing frock for Act Two. I LIKE this one basic frock, a couple of over-robes and a change only for finale! Bliss!


I had to keep this photograph large. I too will be large by March 7th! They treat us well at BLMH!


“If You’re Looking For Trouble!” Ivy and her gang open Act Two!

Act Two flew past, and we came down at about 4.45pm. The audience had a great time, as did we. It really is a great relief when you’ve opened. After this it is honing and refining, and we start doing this at 12.30pm tomorrow before our second show. To all of us here at Brick Lane Hoorah for us!


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One Comment
  1. Gary Duff-Smith permalink

    Hello Darling – Giles Flack Major retd ex Malaya (and wardrobe nightmare) here. Great to see you on the antique show this week, hope all is well with you and Viv.

    Living in Bedford (bit of a change from Ilford) enjoyed Priscilla in Milton Keynes – looking for a not so heavy bad guy?

    GDS xx

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