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February 1st The Panto Continues!

February 1, 2018

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Here we are- off on the Road To Morocco in search of Abanazar! From the left Ben as Genie, Lucy as Aladdin, Vincent as Wishy, Andrew as Twankey and me as the Slave Of The Ring.

This week we’ve done tea matinees and a lunch matinee to date, each show packed to the rafters with jolly audiences. It really is a great atmosphere- tables and chairs laid out , the auditorium lit and looking festive- and it is now officially February. A few of the long running major pantomimes have just finished- Bradford, Newcastle, Birmingham, York, and we will carry on the traditions into March and then- it’ll be time for Easter Pantomimes once again!

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Lucy, Nigel & Shelby

We are carrying on the noble tradition of a female Principal Boy here at Brick Lane. Lucy has played this role a few times over the past few years, and does so after finishing her own pantomime where she plays Principal Girl. The role played by a lady isn’t seen very much these days- it has come and gone as fashion dictates. When I was young I watched male pop stars play Principal Boy in Panto- a fashion set by Cliff Richard when he was at The London Palladium.

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Then I started to appear in Pantomimes myself, and the tide turned in favour of the ladies- heralded by Cilla Black appearing at The London Palladium.

I did “Cinderella” with many female Princes- Jan Hunt, Janet Dibley, Caroline Dennis, and female Dandinis- including Fern Britton and Anneka Rice. It is refereshing to see Lucy strut her stuff here in Brick Lane and keep up the tradition that goes way back to the mid eighteen hundreds!

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I was heading for the Docklands Railway yesterday, and with my hood up against the icy blasts, I felt secure enough NOT to be recognised (I never am!) to get into the lift with some of our audience. “Oh, I laughed so much my jaw aches”.. I smiled inside my hood … “Beautiful Costumes!”.. I smiled more.. “Lovely songs”.. I grinned.. Then they began an impromptu version of “we’re In The Money” with movement and set the lift alarm off!

I stopped grinning! Thankfully we slowly creaked up to the platform and I got my train!

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That’s a cheeky shot!

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Ben doesn’t appear until nearly the end of Act One- hence his casual attire!

Today we have a lunchtime show, which means we go up half an hour later than Tea matinees- the show is at 2.30pm. The coaches will have arrived and the audience will be tucking into the three course meal as I arrive, and then off we go.

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Here are a few pictures from my V&A visit last Sunday to see Danny La Rue’s costume installed next to Peter & I in the theatre section. The display looks lovely- I’ll be returned to see an exhibition on the Ocean Liners later this month. The Opera exhibition finishes shortly.

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Danny’s “Aladdin” costume (formerly “Mother Goose” at Plymouth) next to Peter Robbins Ballgown and my Ballgown, from “Cinderella”.

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I’m off to get ready for the lunchtime show. If you fancy seeing a fun and furry panto this Easter, here’s a version of “Alice In Wonderland” with the gorgeous Ashleigh & Sully starring!

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