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Thursday 21st: Matinee teas!

January 22, 2016


The Tech Rehearsal above.

Wednesday 20th January.

we came in for a rehearsal today to look at some cuts. Yesterday’s Act One was a little longer than desired, so we’ve lost a few bits and a song to trim it down. The idea running time in a matinee tea is about 50 minutes first half, a break of under an hour for tea to be served, followed by about forty five minutes.


Here’s a slightly blurry action shot of the Quick Change that takes place before the finale. We all have the length of one song to change into the finale which, this season is red and gold. Number Two dressing room houses seven panto folk who very rapidly change- two of us are in the corridor frantically changing, while three more are further along the corridor changing. It is a blur of gold and crimson!


Andrew ready for the Walkdown. In that lovely tradition of wearing something that belonged to Dames past, Andrew is wearing Danny La Rue’s necklace for this finale. I have Danny’s choker in an early scene, and Panto Dame Terry Gardiner’s earings in another. Terry I worked with way way back in panto, and his mate Anna Karen (known nowadays as Aunt Sal in Eastenders, and as Olive “On The Buses”) gave them to me after Terry’s memorial at the Kenneth More. It’s a lovely way of remembering.

Dear Brian Godfrey’s funeral is next week.It is on Tuesday which is our matinee day.


Brian Godfrey

I will be remembering Brian at that time, as all his mates gather in South London.Brian was an Ugly Sister and a Dame for Paul Elliott and then for Qdos since the late 1980’s. A dear friend, much missed by all his mates in the word of Panto and Farce. I have a panto ring of Brian’s to wear in this show, given to Marc Seymour and myself from Brian’s mate John Crabtree. A lovely tradition.


I was a busy thespian today. A rehearsal, a show at Brick Lane, then two hours later there I was with the likes of Chris Biggins and Leslie Joseph on the Antiques Roadtrip, talking about things pantomime! It was a repeat, so I was completely unaware until I scared myself switching on the box!

Talking of scaring oneself.. Thursday was another short rehearsal, just to iron a few wrinkles out, but it went over the time I should be getting ready. I had also foolishly decided to try and stitch new straps to a costume at the same time, and hurried my make up. I hurried too much! I Dilly Dallied on the way! Consequently I reached for my flesh pancake make up, dipped the sponge in, spread it on my face only to realise I’d picked up the black pancake. the two containers are identical. Ooops. Here’s the result.


Not a good look, and not good when you are in a rush. It took some scrubbing to get off! I made it just in the nick of time and Poison Ivy sailed on stage looking pristine!

It is awell oiled machine here at BLMH. I can rely on Tommy to sort out my straps on my frock, and Lucy to work out Ivy’s stand up collar, and everyone pulls together in a very slick team effort. I have a pyro now too! In case you are wondering that is a big poof on your entrance. A Pyrotechnic! In all these years of pantomime, this is my very first “Pyro” as a person! I did have one each time I transformed into “Puss In Boots” way back, but this is a first for me as a cackling villainess!


Rusty in Finale Costume.

Two Goffe’s are busy at the moment. Rusty is here of course, giving his special star guest role, and son Ben is touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Daisy the dog might make an appearance one day in panto- you never know!

Sometimes adding extenders to the costume rail to accommodate Andrew’s dresses can prove problematic. Rusty takes it in his stride!

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Two Action Shots!

the newspapers are featuring Fairy Tales today. I’m not sure why, but they are relating the fact that some fairy tales are thousands of years old. Jack & The Beanstalk they believe to be one of the earliest, predating modern languages at 5,000 years old! If they’d attended one of my “Pantomime Roadshows” they would know this already!


If you are interested in the origins of our Fairy Tales, there is an excellent book (if still available) by Iona & Peter Opie called “The Classic Fairy Tales”. Fascinating.

Andrew gave me an opening gift to add to the collection. It is a 1940’s “Wombell’s” paste-on of panto. These were used to paste on to your printed poster to add colour and illustration, and were purchased in the hundreds by theatre management and producers. A generic illustration that saved them the cost of an artist. A lovely piece of Panto History. Thank you Andrew!



We did two shows Wednesday & Thursday. Great responses each time. Tomorrow and Saturday they are evening shows. ALWAYS great fun! I have to confess that I’m tired, it has been a long two weeks coming straight after a panto run, but I’m not alone I’m sure! A lie in tomorrow, then the fun of the Dinner show starting at 9pm!


Here are just some of the Brick Lane Music Hall Front Of House, ready to welcome their guests!

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One Comment
  1. Hi,

    I have an official Are You Being Served?/Grace & Favour site at:

    It has tons of stuff for the AYBS fan including a page about Rusty Goffe at:

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