And so it seems Panto is over for another year (oh no it isn’t….!), as we bid a fond farewell to Sleeping Beauty 2016!
The end of show week is always a little bittersweet, as no one really wants it to be over, especially after all the hard work – but the truth is (for my creaking joints at least) that you are more than a little cream-crackered by the end of Sunday’s matinee and would happily hibernate like a bear for a couple of weeks!
We also have the job of the theatre ‘get out’ to look forward to on the Sunday evening, so work looming large on the Monday morning (or Tuesday if you were sensible enough to book an extra day’s holiday) can almost seem like a rest!
However once you’ve had a bit of a break (24 hours usually does it!) and finally get around to tidying all your dressing room bits away at home, the post show blues can really set in. How are you suppose to fill your time without all those innuendos and panto traditions?! Thankfully, we are traditionally the last group in the area to perform their panto, which means we never have to wait long before we get going with the Summer show auditions. This year it was a particularly short break, as it’s only been one week!
Luckily for some of us there is always the performance at St Elizabeth’s Centre in Much Hadham to look forward to. This is where we take an abridged version of the panto and a trimmed down cast and perform it to the most wonderful audience on the following Sunday. I don’t think they realise that we get as much, if not more, enjoyment out of it as they do – with the sheer joy of having one last chance to perform it!
We rehearsed the abbreviated version on the Wednesday after show week and due to prior commitments we had a couple of casting changes to work through – the Gediking sisters really came up trumps for us and took on the role of the Prince and the Queen (even if they were covering one of their own in the case of one role!). Much fun was had by all at the rehearsal and lots of show week silliness was relived.
When Sunday’s performance rolled around we suddenly found ourselves ‘one sparkle short of a twinkle’ literally; as we had a fairy who’d been struck down by Malevolent, to reduce the power of three! Heroically, and rather passionately Carla offered to step in (and was amazing!). A full spare fairy costume appeared from somewhere (everyone has this sort of thing laying around at home – just in case – don’t they?!) and the deal was sealed, we rustled up a fairy spell book and everything! This left us in a bit of a quandary about the queen’s role, which Carla was originally covering, but the gorgeously radiant Jo (and bump) filled the void and did an outstanding job at such short notice (we took good care of her on stage); it was a beautiful sight to see Jo stood with the baby Aurora and crib in the opening scene, as it really won’t be long until Warren and Jo are recreating that magic for real!
Huge thanks to Becky, Carla and Jo for being such superstars and making sure the show really did go on; and to Mike ‘Keys of Steel’ Benyon and Jivin’ John Fossey for rocking out the tunes! The lovely Fay also came to make sure we looked decent, knew the choreography changes and then turned her hand to the technical operation of the lighting and sound board, such a multi tasker – she also took some cheeky ‘wing side’ pictures!
Tired, but elated, we gathered for tea, sandwiches and cake afterwards – kindly provided by the lovely team at St Elizabeth and celebrated the end of a wonderful run!
Now you would be forgiven for thinking that we would all take some time off now, but no! We were back on it Monday evening, as we met to read through the script for our next show ‘Urinetown’! Don’t be put off by the title, it really is a corker of a script with dark, comedy twists and a cracking score.
So as we prepare to audition for our next show I will say goodbye and thank you for reading all of the blogs we have written during Sleeping Beauty. If you are wondering how you will cope without our regular updates, never fear, I’m sure we won’t be able to contain ourselves and we’ll keep you updated on our journey through the next lot of rehearsals! So watch this space!