I MADE my annual trip Newcastle’s Theatre Royal at the weekend, and had a sneak preview of next year’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the King’s Theatre’s 2015/16 panto. Oh yes I did!
Both the Newcastle and Edinburgh pantomimes are produced by Qdos, and co-written by executive producer Michael Harrison, a Geordie who is no stranger to the Capital having studied drama here, at Queen Margaret University.
So as Aladdin, the current offering at the Old Lady of Leven Street, receives it’s press night this evening I can reveal that once Andy Gray, Grant Stott and Allan Stewart have put paid to Abanazar, they’ll have seven little people to contend with as well as Grant as the Wicked Queen.
It’s strange watching a panto transfer from one city to another. Set, effects and costumes remain the same - everything else changes, the script, the songs, the stars.
In Newcastle, as at the King’s, they have a regular team - the explosive Danny Adams, his dad Clive Webb and the ultra glam Chris Hayward - if you have never seen them, they are quite brilliant.
Chris is their regular Dame and makes all his own frocks, some of which have graced our own Allan over the years.
Unlike The King’s, however, Theatre Royal’s panto is a wonderfully messy affair, as you might expect from Danny and crew who hail from a circus tradition.
Celebrating their 10th year at the venue they had no qualms about creating one of the wildest slosh scenes yet, gunge and foam everywhere, as well as soaking audiences with buckets of water - they even let off a fire extinguisher over the stalls at one point. Can you imagine that at The King’s?