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Day Two In The Dick Whittington House

December 4, 2018


Tuesday 4th December 2018

A pretty full schedule  today in the two rehearsal rooms. Jordan took the Ensemble through all the extremely fast and slick dance routines in the show, and Gary took us through the blocking of the show in the smaller rehearsal room, where we were joined by Joe our Musical director going through the songs as the appear in the script, as well as the underscores, fills and stings (those glissando Fairy type bursts of music, and The Baddie Stings. Lets face it, of all the pantomimes Dick Whittington is a Good and Evil tale!

This morning we started at the top of the show, and Gary plotted us in to the scenes leading up to the scene where Dick Whittington reaches Highgate Hill, or, as I think of it, the time I’ll head off to put the kettle on.

It was a try it with the book down for me day. I try to get the lines learnt before rehearsals start simply to take some of the strain off during the rehearsal process. I find my mind focussing on where I’m changing in my mind- hopefully mostly in the Quick Change Room, and on remembering my moves. Im not very good at multi tasking- possibly the reason why I could never learn to drive!

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By Lunchtime Andy and I had gone through three sets of routines, and it was beginning to get a bit of a rhythm to it-comedy is partly dependent on rhythm, and two people who only met yesterday need time to build up a rhythm. I was so so fortunate to have 28 years to enjoy that with Peter Robbins as we travelled around the UK in Shows and plays and Pantomimes. That is a joy very few people have. Its kind of cheering to think we are both together in that big glass case at the V&A Museum (Theatre Department) in our glorious ballgowns. We’e not lonely at night- Im sure like in “A Night At The Museum” our dummies come to life and swap anecdotes with Danny La Rue next to us in his splendid Aladdin Costume! That costume was originally designed by the wonderful Terry Parsons. Terry designed the scenery for this “Dick Whittington”. In fact, Terry designed the scenery for “Mother Goose” when I was in that at Coventry forty years ago!


The V&A Museum. Peter & Nigel still exhibiting themselves!

And I’m only forty one….


Joe Hood our Musical Director

After lunch at our West London Rehearsal rooms, I had a quick chat with John Evans and the gorgeous Shirley Ballas before heading back to rehearsals. This is Shirley’s debut in the world of Theatre as well as Pantomime. Liverpool Empire is in for a treat!

The Afternoon was spent with Jordan carrying on setting the big dance numbers in the room next door, while Gary carried on plotting to the point where we then ran back over the Act One scenes we’d done. Andy and I rehearsed the “Haunted Bedroom” scene.. two grown men pretending to be in bed (two plastic chairs) and pretending to be frightened by a ghost.. it’s a funny old job we do.. I guess someone has to do it!


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With songs added, with some brilliant feline impersonations from Ryan as Tommy The Cat, magic from Samantha Womack and Daisy and John (Lumsden) belting out some gorgeous songs at full belt-Any and me doing our funny bits (hopefully!) it is difficult to believe this lot had never worked together (in some cases never MET each other) before yesterday morning! THAT is the true Magic of Pantomime! Get a bunch of people who do this for a living, backed by creatives and stage management who excel at what they do, add a sprinkle of fabulous dancing and musical direction… Yes, THAT is how we do it in ten days!

Our Baddie John Partridge was doing other things today for publicity, and rehearsed all of his scenes yesterday. To make this blog simpler- From henceforth (a lovely panto word that!) He will be known as Johhny or Johhny P because we have a John- or John L in the cast as well. Johnny is a Baddie, and a Masterchef, John is a goody and I have no idea of his culinary skills.

By 6pm we’d done most of Act one and slotted the songs in. I need to learn some new lyrics tonight, and get my head around one scene I’m not completely on top of-the scene where Dick is accused (unjustly) of stealing Alice’s Birthday Bling. In true Pantomime tradition (since Victorian Times) we Turn our backs on poor Dick as he is forced to leabe Fitzwarrens Stores. I LOVE Panto Tradition!

Call tomorrow a leisurely 11am!




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