As a devoted daughter to the esteemed director, I was compelled, I mean honoured, to help put on this year’s production and despite my protestation that this show was more Vicar of Dibley than west end, my supportive colleagues dutifully came to support my cast on their opening night.
The nerves and anxieties running through the production team were very much comparable to those felt by a PR when putting on a big launch or event. However, rather than, ‘will there be enough champagne?’ and, ‘will all our journalists turn up?’ our worries were more along the lines of, ‘will the draw bridge open? Will the dragon manage to say his one line without crying? Will The Knights of Camelot accidently take out Arthur with their potentially violent hobby horses? Will the chorus remember ANYTHING that we have taught them over the last 6 months?!’
As it turns out, the draw bridge made it up and down as required. The Dragon did get stuck behind the smoke machine, but when he finally appeared, he looked thoroughly adorable and probably stole the show. The Knights didn’t succeed on swiping any children – better luck next time - and the chorus remembered the majority of their moves AND even managed to attempt singing at the same time! It’s an am-dram miracle!
The feedback from the Cirkle theatre critics was very complimentary, although I fear they may have been somewhat bribed by the local butcher’s promise of his infamous sausages. Even the poor Australian managed to overcome cultural barriers to enjoy this very British tradition, learning to 'boo' and 'hiss' in all the right places. Perhaps experiencing Panto should be part of the British Citizenship Exam.
Essentially, putting on a show and putting on an event are very similar, the adrenaline, the excitement, the relief!! The only difference is, events are usually one offs, we’ve got to endure three more performances – wish us luck!!!