Friday 1 February 2013, 11:34
It’s panto time again and all week I have been down at the Star Hall, our Temperance Theatre here in Finedon, essaying the role of the Phantom in Snow White.
Our panto, which has been going since the thirties, is probably most people’s favourite event in the parish calendar and draws together the whole community, on stage or in the auditorium, like nothing else.
My churchwarden Neil is Dame again this year, a performance audible from the surgery on the corner, and there’s something about seeing the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker all done up in silly costumes singing Bring Me Sunshine that profoundly cheering.Richard Coles as the Phantom in Snow White
The Vicar’s humiliation is another of the panto’s attractions, and my costume this year, a purple morph suit decorated with fluorescent decals, has been particularly enjoyed. Not perhaps by the youngest members of the audience, for when I appear in ultra violet light I glow so menacingly I expect we’ll be having to provide counselling for the Beavers and Rainbows for many months to come.
This year, also, a star is born. One of the youngest members of the children’s chorus is Jamie, aged seven, and we have discovered that he has the most remarkable stage presence. He is not a particularly gifted singer but sets about his numbers, most memorably ‘Food Glorious Food’, with such gusto and vim everyone is swept away. He also has what I might describe as a loose-limbed dance style, which again completely captivates the audience.
I asked his advice for my own dance routine, which boldly tries to synthesise Michael Jackson’s Thriller with a Gangnam Style gallop round the stage surrounded by glow-in-the-dark musical instruments that mysteriously play themselves. Jamie’s advice was “You’ve just got to not be embarrassed”.
We will be pondering these words in our hearts this week, for we meet not in studio 50C but the Radio Theatre for a livelier than normal Saturday Live in front of an audience.
He’ll be joined by poet Murray Lachlan Young and Annie Hutchinson who arrived in the UK ten years ago with just £62 to her name and is now turning neglected houses into comfortable homes.
Also with us are Edward Adoo, whose love of London buses led to a career, unusually, as a DJ and John McCarthy who talks to Antarctic explorer Meredith Hooper. Inheritance Tracks come from Ben Elton.
So join Sian and JP and me, live from the Radio Theatre, just after nine.
Friday 1 February 2013, 10:50
Friday 1 February 2013, 12:44