He’s behind you! Backstage at the King’s panto

Grant Stott gets prepared for the show
Grant Stott gets prepared for the show
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Three magic beans may not stretch as far as they used to but it is payment enough for a cracking night of traditional pantomime at the King’s Theatre.

And this year’s run of 84 performances, full of high-jinks and hilarity, tells the magical story of Jack and the Beanstalk, with a few twists on the original fairytale.

Allan Stewart gets prepared for the show

Allan Stewart gets prepared for the show

But it takes more than the simple wave of a wand to create the quality production of the city’s premier pantomime. Oh yes it does – oh no it doesn’t...

The gruelling schedule has the cast and crew on-stage six days a week with two performances most days.

The cast of 15, including the stars Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, is made up of an ensemble of dancers and two teams of “babes” from the Edinburgh Dance Academy who perform one day on, one day off.

And working to ensure that everything runs smoothly is a 20-strong crew who describe the behind the scenes atmosphere as “electric”, a machine of moving parts who work together to produce a pitch-perfect performance.

Andy Gray gets prepared for the show

Andy Gray gets prepared for the show

Each show day, first in and last out is the wardrobe department, who prepare the costumes in advance of each performance and then repair and wash them for the following day’s show. Mitchell Harper, from the dance ensemble said: “The costume changes are like choreographed scenes in themselves – everything has to be exactly on time and turned around so fast.”

And assistant stage manager Siobhan Scott is in charge of the star of the show, the beanstalk. “I run the wings, mostly prop running, passing things to actors,” she said.

“And I’m responsible for the beanstalk – so I have to make sure that goes right!”

Dan Evans, in charge of the on-stage fire and sound effects, said: “It’s a great fun job, different every day and the stars always keep me on my toes.”

Behind the scenes at The Kings Theatre Panto Jack and the beanstalk, Kazoo Zoo

Behind the scenes at The Kings Theatre Panto Jack and the beanstalk, Kazoo Zoo

And despite the hard work, the cast and crew make sure the backstage atmosphere is nothing less than joyous. Rachel Flynn, who plays Princess Apricot, said: “It’s non-stop laughter and fun. Everyone’s very mischievous.”

And pantomime veteran Grant Stott admits it is a job like no other: “If you want to do this you really have to commit. It’s not like any other job. And if you commit, the rewards are not like any other job either.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk