CriticalDance Forum

Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

Panto's just second-rate drama? Oh no it isn't...
As the pantomime season gets under way our correspondent says there is nothing like a dame
By Richard Morrison for The Times.

CALL ME old-fashioned. Call me a lapsed-highbrow lowbrow with an incurable penchant for jokes even older than I am. Call me an overgrown toddler who still gurgles like a plughole when someone collides with an airborne custard pie. Call me Danny La Rue in socks, if you must.

But I joyously admit it: I am a panto addict. For me, nothing evokes the season of mince pies and ridiculous paper hats more than the family outing to Aladdin, or Dick Whittington, or Puss in Boots. Especially Puss in Boots.

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<small>[ 29 November 2004, 09:01 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Nov 29, 2004 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

Just another panto dame? Oh no she’s not
Louise Loughman is looking on the bright side of her new role in pantomime, says Mick Heaney in The Sunday Times (Irish edition):

It was, she imagined, like being on the set of a Steven Spielberg film. With scenery hewn out of the Australian jungle, a crew numbering hundreds and multi-million viewing figures, working on the first series of I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! was a quantum leap for Louise Loughman.

More accustomed to presenting low-budget shows in Ireland, when the young Dubliner looked at her new surroundings and prepared to host the show’s diary spin-off programme on ITV2 she realised she was, as she puts it, working with the big boys.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 04, 2004 4:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

The indomitable reviewers from The Stage have been reviewing pantos the length and breadth of the UK. Here's one and you can find lots more on their Reviews page:

Beauty and the Beast
From The Stage

Having really enjoyed last year’s production and given it a glowing review, I was wondering how it could possibly be improved upon. Indeed, director Laurence Boswell has sharpen the script and done some serious editing, which has substantially reshaped it, there are new songs and characters and the whole production zips along.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

You will go to the panto

The Independent
December 07, 2004

Ticket sales suggest that between 15 and 20 per cent of the population, or up to 11 million people, will see a pantomime this year. And why not? It's so fashionable that even the style arbiter Vogue chose panto as the theme for its seasonal cover story. Have you booked your seats yet?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Dec 09, 2004 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

By Sam Marlowe for The Times

THE Hackney Empire is famed for its high-quality traditional pantomimes and its latest, written and directed by Susie McKenna, the veteran principal boy and ardent defender of the form, does the East London venue proud.

With a wonderfully witty script, a charismatic cast with talent to burn, a score of original music and familiar pop songs and designs that explode with glitter and gaudy colour, this production of Aladdin has everything that panto fans could desire — with not a faded soap star or D-list celebrity in sight.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Dec 10, 2004 2:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

'You can't wear glitter - it's not a drag act'
What makes a great panto dame? In The Guardian, Rupert Smith asks six veterans and one newcomer to give up their secrets

In my case, playing dame certainly won't be a female impersonation: with my hands, how could it be? I'll be appearing in frocks, with padding to give me a female body shape, but I'm certainly not pretending to be a woman. I'm approaching it more in the tradition of the stand-up comic who puts a frock on. But unlike a stand-up, I don't have a ready-made personality that will engage the audience, like Les Dawson did. I'm focusing more on playing the character of Widow Twankey, which I'm approaching in the same way I would any acting part.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

Aladdin at the Old Vic
By Ben Sutherland for BBC News

Kevin Spacey's tenure as artistic director of London's Old Vic theatre got off to a sticky start with the poorly received Cloaca - but he is guaranteed a recovery with his version of Aladdin, starring Sir Ian McKellen as Widow Twankey.

In the season of joy, this version of the famous fairytale is a celebration of pantomime itself, with Sir Ian's pantomime dame taking centre stage.

An absolute minimum of plot is used as the base on which to hang a feast of musical numbers, slapstick, audience participation, innuendo, and outrageous costumes, often all at the same time.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

River City trio win plaudits for panto rescue

the Scotland Herald

At the last minute, three actors from River City, the BBC soap, stepped into the breech and were given just three days to learn their lines, dance routines and rehearse.

Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Dec 31, 2004 12:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

Holiday pantomimes let Brits act up

the Associated Press

It's estimated that more than 10 million people in Britain attend a pantomime each year, and they're a lifeline for many theater companies. While most commercial stage shows lose money, pantos usually make a profit. Qdos Entertainment, the country's largest panto producer, has 32 shows running this season.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pantomime in the UK and Ireland 2004

Technical talk - UK Pantomime pt.1
By Howard Bird for The Stage

This Saturday night will see the close of many pantomimes up and down the country. The frocks will be cleaned and stored away, the props crated and the scenery packed off to whichever hire company had the honour to provide it. The artists will disperse and the technical crew will de-rig and hopefully look forward to a break before the next big bash.

That will be it for another season as the theatre returns to some sort of artistic credibility until the brochures announce the 05/06 season with a “bigger and better than ever”. Even now the agents will be doing deals with the stars and predicting who will be hot to Dame Trott later this year.

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Technical Talk - UK Pantomime pt.2
By Robin Johnson for The Stage

Last week, Howard wrote a piece here in which the words ‘lambast’ and ‘pantomime’ were inseparable bedfellows. He admits that he has never liked pantomime, a view I disagree with. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy it. However, there is a very big ‘but’.

Done well, pantomime can be superb. I say done well because it is extraordinarily easy to do badly. I think the reason that Howard and many others have such a problem is because panto is deep in crisis.

The trouble is that it is virtually always the same boring old thing. All those yawn-inducing old tales like Aladdin, Cinderella, Mother Goose, Puss in Boots and the rest, repeated year-on-year with the same tired old gags and lack of imagination.

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