Sunday 8 June 2014

Passing of a Panto Legend

Leo Greene one of the stalwarts of the Chrysanths sadly passed away yesterday.
Leo was always ever present with the society and played a major part in the development and continued success of the group.

My earliest memories of Leo and family go back as long as I remember. The Greene's back door backed onto our back door and our two families enjoyed various parties as I recall.

When I joined the Panto Leo was an experienced and accomplished performer.
I remember him as a Brokers Man, Simple Simon (or Idle Jack) and latterly as a Dame. Leo represented Amateur Pantomime as a Dame in a national Newspaper.

Afterwards Leo contributed mightily to the development of the scripts though many of his jokes were terrible and mostly unprintable. We certainly couldn't use them in the show but he was always whispering some risqué comment at rehearsals and having us in  stitches. Leo gave me and Jed many tips when it came to comedy on stage.

Leo for many years dealt with publicity and the programme. He was always popping into local shops trying to get adverts or sponsorship. He always managed to get Mcdonalds to supply us with soft drinks and vouchers as giveaways. Don't know how he did it but no one as been able to get anything out of them since.

Leo was a legend in the Panto. Even now he will be arguing with My Uncle George and Harry Bedson about who will play Wishie Washie in the Pearly Gates production of Aladdin.

Rest in Peace Leo and don't try and tell your jokes to the Angels, you'll get yourself kicked out.

Condolences to Miriam, Paul, Pam,Helen,and family.


Saturday 25 January 2014

Happy new Panto Year

So the Panto year has ended and I thought I should wrap up the blogs as well.
Successful show with good audiences who all seemed to enjoy it. Enjoyed my slapstick with my oppo and escaped without too many injuries. Good fun bashing him with plank though I think he got his own back sticking that paint brush in my mouth!

Ironic,with me going on at my Dame  mate all year about being careful with his rude material, that I should be the one to drop the rudest word of the week in the picnic gag! Still it was a Saturday night audience who were having a raucous time and the slip was completely accidental....honest.

Principals were all brilliant with great performances from our 2 debutants who are both under 18 and our other young principal playing the wolf who is just legal to drink.
We had a fantastic mix this year the right blend of experience and youth. Bringing in an experienced female performer to play principal girl also lifted the performances of our home grown female principals who were all on their top game. The kids were all top notch and were amazingly so well behaved. The logistics in moving 70 kids and young people around the theatre were handled with military precision thanks to the mums who took the time out to support the show.

Our back stage crew were also brilliant. In the end it was a very technical show with lots of complicated effects involving lighting, sound, pyrotechnics and props. To get these right takes an enormous amount of concentration and skill. I don't name names in this blog but all the people who work so hard so that a few of us step into a little lit box to perform, do a wonderful job and I hope take great satisfaction from a job well done.

The show continues to get better year on year and long may it continue. The  Chrysanthemums reputation is, I feel, growing steadily. We want to get to a point were local talent are cramming to get a part in our show, we grow our local support to a position were tickets become  difficult to get and we are an annual post christmas regular treat for Merseyside families.

So give it a week or so and then we're off again. Not sure about next years show yet. We have got our hundreth, hundreath hundredth (got it!) show coming up in 2018, so want to save one of our big shows for that. Cinderella is looming though, the one show where I can legally wear womens underwear. 

I can never understand, though,why my oppo has to wear Per Una silk knickers under his ugly sisters costume. No one can see it, though he says it makes him feel authentic. 

It takes all sorts....Happy Panto Year to all of you


Sunday 5 January 2014

And So to the Show

Well the week of the show arrives and are we ready? You bet we are
Principals are chomping at the bit, repeating their lines over and over in the supermarket queue, songs are being repeatedly sung in the shower or on the loo, jokes are being practiced on sufferring partners (who tend to be ignored all week) and I am frantically trying to remember the box step while clearing out the garage.

Back stage preparations go into full swing, scenery ordered, special effects to be finalised, costumes fitted and the logistics of getting 70 odd kids safely onto the stage being efficiently organised.

Had a busy day yesterday. Me and my oppo did a live interview on the Radio Merseyside Breakfast Show at 8.20. Went well but strangely nerve wracking and much worse than going on stage in front of 800 people at the floral. Very difficult environment radio, just you, the DJ and the microphone in front of you. Anyway think it went OK and we got a couple of gags in.

Went back over to town later to meet the dame at the footie. He's raring to go and I'm sure his jokes will be as subtle as usual! Just like a bride, something borrowed, something new....something blue !

So my pantoblog ends for this year. Thank you all who have bothered to read it. I look forward to seeing you all this week. Unless you are that single blog reader from Kurdistan who,as a pig farmer , I am sure will  struggle to afford the plane ticket to get to the  Floral.

Me and the oppo now look forward to our usual week of mayhem, you know spitting water at each other, poking each other in the eye, having fights with paintbrushes, all the normal childish behaviour and then having to go on stage!

It's going to be a fun week.


Monday 23 December 2013

Good Will and All That

Well it's Christmas Eve. Blogs have slowed down a bit last few weeks, what with the house move, festive preparations and of course the panto coming up.

Been an interesting few weeks with the show, we had to make some late cast changes and that is always disruptive, but the principals have knuckled down to work and we are practically there.
Final rehearsals have been mostly fun and good humoured though we have had our stressful moments! Kids though have been great. We knew when we decided to cast 70 odd dancers including a larger number of tiny tots, that this would make Sunday afternoons a bit chaotic.
Rehearsals are a bit of a mix, you know Toy Story and The Sound of Music with a bit of Emmanuel thrown in when the Dame does his Stand Up! (Showing my age there)

I have still shed loads to arrange before the show. Mostly now getting special effects and sounds done. These are the things that elevate the show. You can have great acting, music and dancing but without a suitable fart noise or the right thud when I get punched in the face it all comes to nought.

Me and oppo should be busy working on slapstick but are both engrossed with other things. But as usual we will find the time to rehearse our comedy bits or just make it up as we go a long. That usually works.

So to all my friends old and new, family, readers who don't know me personally, stalkers and any other wierdo's who read my blog, have a Merry Xmas.

I'll see you all at the Floral Pavilion in the new year so get your tickets!


Wednesday 11 December 2013

Calvin Kline's or are they Primark

Been a bit lazy with the blog. Good excuse though as we've just moved house and clearing my cellar of 14 years of junk had to take priority. 

Talking of junk, rehearsals are progressing well with most principals now knowing their lines. Those who don't, we know who you are? It can be difficult though. I struggle and I wrote the stupid thing.

Me and the oppo have still some work to do on our slapstick bits. As usual we will keep it simple and I won't, at this stage reveal what we are going to do. Well I can't reveal it because we haven't written it yet. It will,however, probably involve blowing things up and oppo getting hit on the head several times with blunt objects. I like doing things last minute it keep things fresh.

Talking of fresh, the subject of whose sharing changing rooms rears its ugly head or stench.
Now me and the oppo's room is probably the most fragrant in the corridor ( You want to smell the girl's) Oppo always buys new Calvin Kline undies for the week of the show to impress any of the ladies who try to fight their way into our room. There not genuine CK's of course, I can tell by the fraying around the gusset. Not that I'm looking......moving on.

Busy weekend ahead, footy match with the Dame on Saturday which could be a heavy session being nearly Xmas. Just hope I remember which house to go back to!


Wednesday 27 November 2013

Sick Note

OK before we start, I'm not well, and no it's not Man flu it's a proper cold in fact it's a an acute disease of the upper respiratory tract that is marked by inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, eyes, and eustachian tubes and by a watery then purulent discharge and is caused by any of several viruses (as a rhinovirus or an adenovirus) Glad we got that out the way.

Anyway,to use our Dames's standard pantomime segue,not to be confused with a segway which our Dame would love me to buy for him to make his entrance. Every year he wants to make his entrance on some motorised device such as a shopping trolley, lawn mower or this year a turbo charged wheel chair with go faster stripes. As usual I will have to ask oppo to make something, which he will..eventually.

Where was I, oh yes the pantomime. We move to full Sunday rehearsals this week, so now it's getting serious. Scripts must be binned. This is difficult for the cast as I am still writing it. Great when we start to do the material in the main hall with a bit of an audience. We can begin to see what works and what doesn't. There are some jokes I know will always work (You will all by now be very familiar with my if all else fails fart and fall over gag) but other more subtle humour has to be tried out. Now I know what your thinking, Pantobloke subtle humour I don't think so! But I can be subtle (please see clever segue/segway reference above)

Anyway from the look of this blog, I have obviously exceeded my 4 lemsip sachets in 24 hours so I will go and rest so I am fit for Sunday...not that you care


Wednesday 13 November 2013

No I mean it!

First Music rehearsal this week. Always difficult as we try out new songs and principals get used to Norman playing on his organ. (Ok will clean it up now)

Choice of songs is very important as it is a big part of the show and we like to make sure that cast members are comfortable with the song choices. If possible, especially with solos, we like to use suggestions made by whose going to sing it.

That is as long as it's not "On my Own" from Les Mis. If I hear that bloody song again  I will be on my own, standing on a bridge over the Thames following Javert.

We have to achieve the right balance for our audience and that , lamentably for me, means One Direction. Will draw the line at Miley Cyrus. The thought of our Dame trying to Twerk, puts me off my porridge.

Watched part of the video of our last production of Little Red Riding Hood. It was good show and only about 8 years ago. It's also quite painful watching yourself, it's a bit like Cliff looking at himself in Summer  Holiday. Except Cliff looks the same.

Ah well looks like it's weekly Botox injections for me and oppo right up to the show.