Liam Rudden: Miss Scarlet, with the dagger, in the library

Panto horse. Pic: Comp
Panto horse. Pic: Comp
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PROPS. Props have taken up the last week or more of my life. They’re required for a play, opening at the Brighton Fringe next month, before coming to the Leith Festival and then the Fringe, in August.

Consequently I’ve been tracking down objects as diverse as old fashioned glass and metal syringes (finally sourced from Bulgaria, through eBay), a ‘Gold’ ring, as might be worn by an army officer back in the day (after searching the obvious places, I actually got one for a fiver from Claire’s Accessories), and silver cigarette case - another eBay bargain, just three quid.

Others I’ve yet to track down include an absinthe spoon (although thanks to Twitter, I am now in the process of locating one) and an old, battered Zippo-style lighter. That shouldn’t prove to hard to find.

The biggest struggle is finding convincing prop currency notes - fake money. After all, it’s an offence to just copy the legal tender we carry about without thinking.

Designing notes might be fun but it is also hard work, mainly because you have to design each side separately and then glue them together.

Suddenly I’m missing my prop maker from panto. She could make just about anything required in a day.

It reminded me just how much hard work goes into staging even the most modest of plays. Hard work that, more often than not, goes unnoticed, as all focus is on the actor bringing the script to life.

Yet without the right prop, from the right time period, without a lighting design to create atmosphere and costumes to complete the package, the finished product would be a shadow of its potential.

So next time you watch a show at the Playhouse or at the King’s, think about all the people you’ll never see who helped make it happen.

In the meantime my next challenge is to find a prop cut-throat razor that can spray blood. Nice.