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Hilarious New Year’s Eve

January 1, 2022

I had plans to go to a friend’s house last night for an evening of New Year’s Eve fun and games. (Mostly charades.) Yesterday morning he cancelled so a scaled-down plan replaced the games. I invited my friend Jean over for dinner and panto watching.

The panto in question was Will Shakespeare the Panto by Robin Bailes. I’d directed the world premiere of the show in 2014. With no chance of staging a live panto for the second year in a row, I got in touch with Robin to ask if he would consider granting permission for us to make it available online. Happily he said yes. 

I wrote about my discovery of this particular panto last year and I’ve also written about the “professional” friendship this began with Robin. (Since 2014 I’ve directed three other pantos by him.)

I remembered the script was funny and I remembered how wonderful all the cast members were in their roles.

This was the year Joe, who’d never acted before, discovered that he was born to play pantomime villains. (Indeed he’s gone on to play the villain in most pantos since.) We had superb leading characters, including a Dancing Queen. My mate Paul was unbelievably funny as Alexander Cook. An actress named Nadine (as the local paper acknowledged in its review) stole every scene she was in. From the photo alone you may be able to guess that you could hardly call our community hall a theatre, but, despite its limitations, we put on a rollicking show.

What I hadn’t remembered until last night was quite how laugh out loud hilarious the show was. 

It’s still available to watch online in return for a donation. Honestly, if you want to have your first belly laugh of 2022, you should check it out. (And please don’t be one of the wankers who only coughed up a dollar as their “other amount” to see it. Live theatre is in trouble, you know.)

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