The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Friday, 18 November 1988

The Day Pantomime Ended!

BTEC NATIONAL DIPLOMA IN PERFORMING ARTS NOVEMBER 1988
Panto at Barnes Bysea Theatre.  Coach leaving college at 9.00am.  Distribute ‘Macbeth’ publicity in town.
 
‘Can Can’ – Bad Manners


Barnes Bysea
Today, a coach collected we of the BTEC and transported us to the small East Anglian seaside town of Barnes Bysea.
 
Fury From The Deep
We unloaded all our gear (costumes – all brightly coloured and from Jane Thorne’s own personal collection of Panto outfits [!], make up – from the girls’ own make-up collections - sound speakers, ‘mixing desk’ and a series of large flats for entrances and exits – the standard equipment of what will eventually become our ‘tour’) and hoarded it backstage at BARNES BYSEA THEATRE, before taking some time to wander off around the town.

 


Donna, Sharon, Jolene + myself ran onto the beach, which was covered in frothy seaweed.  Suddenly, I was thinking of the P. Troughton Doctor Who adventure FURY FROM THE DEEP, so recommended we all take our shoes + socks off + roll up our trousers + paddle in the freezing cold water.
 
So we did.  And spent ages afterwards getting the sand out from in-between our toes.
 
‘Superman’ – Black Lace

 
Panto at the Theatre
The show for CHILDREN IN NEED (taking place all day; we were but one part of a whole marathon) was going well.  When we performed THE DAY PANTOMIME ENDED the kids seemed to really enjoy it.  They really got into the spirit of panto – very loudly.  It was fantastic.  Halfway through, we danced to Black Lace’s ‘Superman’ (a dance involving various actions and movements) and the children joined in.  We have decided that we’ll be using this in the shows on the tour now.  It offers a bit of even lighter relief.
 
THE BASIC PLOT
On the instructions of his Evil Queen, the villainous Berwin Groomstool visits the Wizard of Oz and threatens to destroy Pantomime forever.  Dame Dishup – a cook in the Wizard’s palace – overhears this and tells us that the Evil Queen was actually once a witch who put a spell on Prince Charming and took control of his land; she is now planning to take control of all the lands and kingdoms in Pantomime.  The Wizard, whose powers are fading, calls upon the help of his good friend Dorothy, whom he instructs to travel across Pantomime to collect a variety of objects he can use in a special spell to defeat the Evil Queen.
 
Over the next half hour or so, Dorothy undertakes this quest, visiting a magical city, travelling across the ocean on a pirate ship, landing on an enchanted island and finally visiting the evil castle.  Along the way, she enlists the help of a variety of characters from various pantos, all of whom help her collect the objects the Wizard needs for his spell.  In the final showdown, the odds are clearly in the good guys’ favour and the spell is employed to defeat Groomstool and his Queen.  It ends with a proposal of marriage and happiness all round.  
 
I thought what we did in performance was good for the time limits, pressures and actors imposed upon it.  From a directorial point of view it was a bit of a shambles, as some – if not most – of my directions went straight out of the window.  All in all, though, I was dead chuffed, especially as I was giving Berwin Groomstool his first ever public and stage appearance.
 
THANKS GO TO: William Daniels (as Dame Dishup); Kenneth Farnham (as Wizard Drimblings); Lee-Anne Jones (as Dorothy); Sharon Fielding (as Puss); Jonny Badcock (as Capt. Hook); Kat Hill (as The Evil Queen); Jodie Ratcliffe (as Tinkerbell); Tracey Joyce (as Aladdin); Donna Davidson (as The Genie); Daniel Abbott (for Sound); Jolene Morse (for being on hand); and Jane Thorne (for stepping in as Prince Charming at the last minute, when Trudy Paul dropped the part for being a ‘no-no’, a ‘bore’, ‘insubstantial’ and ‘nondescript’ – this is probably because she’s leaving us to go to a Drama School…  I just don’t think she’ll last a minute, though, if she’s just gonna dump on her colleagues like that.  She clearly thought the piece was below her, but Jonny probably thought Hook was and he still went on and did it.  And to pull out of a charity gig, never mind letting your peers down!  I find that very arrogant and inconsiderate.  Truthfully, I like her, but she’s just a body and a (mildly) pretty face, lacking somewhat in the BRAIN DEPT.  The girl has very little intelligence.  Sad.  Sad.  Her actions don’t bode well for her future ambitions.  I wonder what will become of her?)
 
‘Piece Of You’ – Soho

 
Following the performance, I went to the pub with Donna Davidson, Tracey, Marco (a student from the Photography Dept and Tracey’s boyfriend), Daniel, Lee-Anne Jones and Larry Goodgirl, our tutor.  Larry and I sat and assessed the Panto, and he bought us all a drink.  I am still not touching alcohol.  I just can’t.  I’m not trying to avoid it, but since the post-El Tropique party my stomach just dictates, ‘YOU’D BETTER NOT, YOU BASTARD…’
 
Lasagne; Donna Davidson
Donna and I then spent the rest of the day together.  We read 1985 Ritcherd diaries in a café and ate Barnes Bysea Lasagne.
 
We then walked by the beach and discovered heaps and heaps more foam coming in from the sea; loads of it – and all full of seaweed clumps.  Then Donna and I started to play FURY FROM THE DEEP again.  Donna Davidson and I even played at being Mr Oak and Mr Quill (two scary characters in the book), which was good of her since she had no idea what I was on about.  It was hilarious, playing in this foam and talking about great, big, macker furies from the deep eating us up.
 
Oh, I wish the BBC had copies of it.
 
We then pretended to be Oak and Quill for the rest of the day, all silent and impassive; talking to each other in an emotionless monotone.  It was such a laugh, though.
 
Donna’s ace.  Really nice.  The BTC’s first real fan.
 
 
[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]
 
Next time: ‘Donna comes to stay…’

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