Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 2 - Reunited with my old friend Arnie.... Arnicare that is!

"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them!" {Sylvia Plath ~ The Bell Jar 1963}

Salutations dear readers and a very happy Tuesday to you all.  I had the best start possible to rehearsals this morning... a delightful, warm and cosy lie in!  A 12 o'clock call provided just enough time for say 3 extra hours in bed... I felt so bad lying there all relaxed and at ease thinking of my old chum PG, who'd probably been up since 5am, to present the Breakfast show on Eagle radio (an avid supporter of the Yvonne Arnaud and it's pantomime).  "Life's tough at the top eh pal?!"
He was however afforded a method of revenge.... a piece of business that I think PG will relish in for the next 2 months.  He already demonstrated this relish by wanting to keep rehearsing the moment where he clobbers my round the noggin!!

After not managing to get on stage yesterday Peter (our Emperor) was determined to speak his first line as soon as he could, this providing me with the perfect opportunity to wind him up... just a little.  A quick word in the ear of Sir Gerry (our director and fellow panto geek) and it was done; just as poor old PG was about to walk on Gerry called "PG I don't think I'm going to do this scene now...!" we were amused even if he wasn't.  But it turned out that first line was going to cause more amusement as the rehearsal went on.

We discovered today that PG doesn't have much experience of marching, or more specifically - marching in time!  Numerous failed attempts lead to many fits of laughter and surely a gem of an idea for this year COD.

~ A COD for anyone not in the know stands for Crew On Deck.  Each year the crew write and perform their version of the pantomime, ribbing the actors, the script and all the funny goings on that may have cropped up over the run.  It's all done in very good taste and not meant to offend anyone - much.  it's an absolute treat and so amusing.  I went to last years even though I wasn't in the show and still howled as I saw friends being sent up.  If the crew don't pick up on something that you've done or a trait you may have then your either very lucky to avoid the nib of Vicky (the DSM and COD writer) or to put it plainly.... a bit boring?!?! ~
Thankfully PG takes the banter very well, and really does give as good as he gets... if not more, so we were of course laughing with him as opposed to at him.  Well at least I think so, unless he's sat at home reading this now, crying into the arms of his lovely wife Mel.

Another highlight of the day was hearing a couple of the numbers that Anthony England (MD) has put together.  It's still early days and the two numbers I heard sounded great already... I'm a little jealous that I'm not in the opening number after hearing it.  Gerry has choreographed a beautiful sequence for the ensemble, which without giving too much away, includes props and some seemingly simple moves... until of course the guys come to do it.  The best moment arrived when Gerry decided to demonstrate what he wanted with Amy...  throwing these buckets around, they were both unaware there was a little water inside one, which inevitably ended up spilling on Amy.. there's a video on Twitter for anyone who wants a giggle.

The second song I saw, just before I left - I had a double bonus today - not only did I start late but finished early too, was a duet with Abanazer (Kit Hesketh Harvey) and the Genie (Susie Blake).  We all applauded after hearing this little ditty, which to me has an air of musical about it.  It's a slightly re-worded Mel Brooks song, but I shan't tell you which one!

We also, after only two days in did a mini run of what we've got so far this afternoon.  Went well - obviously we don't have the freedom we will have when we're all off book yet, but you can see and feel it's going to be good!  There's lots of funny business going on, so the audience shouldn't have a moment to catch their breaths between the laughs.   The slapstick is coming thick and fast for me which I love!!  I adore playing the idiot, which of course my accent lends its self to quite easily.   I do therefore need to brush up on my tumbling... I gained a slight bruise on the derriere yesterday which after falling upon the same spot a couple of times today has left me with, shall we say a slightly "pummelled rump" - nothing which a hot bath and a healthy dose or Arincare can't fix.  I got through a couple of tubes last time I was here in Guildford.  Climbing into tight spaces during the magic illusions left me with battered knees, hips, arms and on occasion a bashed up "mic-pac" - if you'll excuse the expression!  So I feel a bruised leg is mild in comparison.

Another cast member who would probably benefit from a nice relaxing bath is Widow Twankey (the wonderful Royce Mills) who today unfortunately hasn't been with us, as he was feeling a little under the weather.  You can tell when Royce isn't in the room - it loses a certain energy - so we hope he's well and back with us soon. 

~A quick note on Royce - and don't tell him I said this... (I don't think he's into social media so he won't read this!) but he is by far my favourite Dame in panto land, well deserving the capital "D"!  I first saw Royce when I was ushering at the Arnaud.  I'd usually gone back up to the Midlands for the holidays at GSA, by the time panto kicked off and wouldn't see the show, but one year when Stephanie Beecham starred in "Snow White" I was lucky enough to see Royce play "Herman the Henchman" the bumbling subservient fool - the part I played last year in Buxton.  I couldn't take my eyes off him, and neither could the audience, they love him!  Coincidentally that was also PG's first year in Guildford's Panto, although only appearing as the recorded mirror.  The following year I saw them both again in "Jack and the Beanstalk" this time with Royce as Dame!  He has a wonderful approach... he wants the audience to warm to him and he never fails.  He has make up, a dress and a wig of course, but the wig is always ridding just a little up the back of his head so you can see his real hair, his make-up is jolly and suggestive rather than drag and he uses his own melodious yet manly voice.  He's playing a woman without sending them up.  And he doesn't like lots of references to him being 'a man in a dress'... I remember him saying "they know I'm a man - there's no need to bang on about it!" and he's entirely right!  Any references he does make to his actual gender are double entendre which are much funnier and suit Guildford's audience perfectly.  He is the Dame I eventually want to be and will be studying him to get all the knowledge I can... he's full of anecdotes and has lots of tips, jokes and ideas, which Gerry usually agrees with.  Anyway... the audience will make their own decisions but I think Guildford's very lucky to have him!" ~

I can't wait for Thursday night - the big light switch on in Guildford.  I always enjoy this night; chestnuts, lots of carols and christmas songs, fireworks and of course the lights themselves, usually with a little light entertainment thrown in from our very own PG.  As last year, I'm meeting up with my good friends Jeff & Dawn (both of whom are involved with the Arnaud) for what now seems to be our annual "light switch on drinks!"  Joe's (Wishee) joining us this year, along with Emma (Aladdin) as soon as she's finished up on the balcony!  Plus we have another very special guest joining us this year!  My girlfriend Sandy is popping down for the festivities before she jets off to the sunny land of - Birmingham(?!?!) for her own pantomime.  We're not going to get to spend much of the build up to Christmas together unfortunately so I thought Thursday would be a great opportunity.  So if you me and the gang around town.. do pop over and say "hello!"

Talking of Guildford, PG and myself were chatting this afternoon about the importance of local theatre and advertising.  The Yvonne Arnaud is a wonderful theatre and boasts an annually successful and traditional family pantomime, along with all the other delightful theatre it houses throughout the year.  If you're from the local area and haven't booked up yet... please do.  Don't waste extra money on travel expenses to panto's out of town!  You've got one on your doorstep - why not save on the travel and go out for dinner before hand instead?!  The cast and crew, along with all the folks who work in-house at the theatre are really pushing the social media this year - it obviously reaches a lot of people and can be both informative and entertaining.  Please help us to keep audience levels up and spread the word about Aladdin!  You wont be disappointed - and it would be a shame if you're reading this blog and never actually get to see the show!

My early finish meant I was free to do a little shopping and order my new suit for opening night - "You've gotta look good for your public darling!"  Is top hat and tails too much?!  Now though, after talking to you dear readers, I'm off into the bath (I'll leave that image with you) and then I'm going to snuggle up in bed, learn some more lines and watch one of the ITV pantomimes... just for research of course!

Night all.
Pongo X

Follow Jamie on Twitter "@Jamiebrook" and join his Fan page on Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment