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Sunday, 10 December 2017

4 down 4 to go

Panto. Wow. I don't even know where to start. Here?


This is the pit. Technically not a pit, but in the wings. There's no room and there's up to 8 of us squashed back there. We have to file in and out between songs and try not to fall over cables or each other. It's - cosy.

The Arden Theatre is cosy too. It seats 98 and there's not much of a backstage. When we come off we file through the bar (stopping, generally) and wait in the foyer to go back again. Someone has a script and we spend most of the time going "Where are we" and trying to remember to whisper. And drinking. Of course.


We often get a bit carried away...



and we're regularly told off for making too much noise.

Rage Against the Panto Band Photo

Jess came up with the band name from a band name generator she found online and Neal designed and made tshirts. We start off in all black and change into our band shirts in the interval. We are all very very silly. 

Everyone in the band except for me is an extremely accomplished musician. I am definitely the weak link but I am just keeping quiet and hope no one notices. It is so fun to play with musicians this good, and I'm having an absolute blast. The music is lively - it's a rock and roll panto so we play songs like We are the Champions and Rock Around the Clock and Shake Your Tail Feather. 

Panto itself is something else. Neither Neal or I had ever really seen one, not growing up in the UK. They are hilarious. This is Brits like you've never seen them before - audience participation is mandatory and enthusiastically embraced. They shout and boo and hiss and cheer and at one point even allow themselves to be dragged up on stage to do the Shake Your Tailfeather dance. British people. I spend most of the performance laughing my head off.

It's hard work though. Last week we had rehearsals Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can't hear a thing on stage and you really have to listen. The actors range in age from about 6 to 70 and often start songs at what appear to be completely random points. There is one song that we have still not landed the ending even once yet (much to Ben, our leader's disgust - "what is wrong with you lot?" he groaned tonight). We were all tired today. We missed a cue and had to be prompted by one of the actors. We missed an entrance and had to do an undignified rushing in at the last minute. But it's all good fun, and a very good laugh. 

4 more to go. 


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