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Alex and Aleks

October 1, 2022

For three years in a row, these were my “guys”.

Alex and Aleks (Aleksandra) were my Will and Rosie in Will Shakespeare the Panto and my Robin and Marian in Robin Hood and his Merry Men and The Return of Robin Hood. (Ten years later and it isn’t quite happily ever after.)

In the two years I vacated the panto director’s chair, Aleks moved off the island and Alex started a business that put an end to his panto hero days.

I’d worked with them both before, appearing with Aleks in the previous year’s panto and directing Alex in Inherit the Wind. 

When it came to casting the rest of the roles in Will Shakespeare, I knew all but one of the actors (John, a friend of Joe’s, brought in to play Burbage – which he did magnificently). With no Alex and Aleks around for Ali Baba in 2019, I needed a new hero and heroine. Again I knew and had worked with both Ray and Adrienne. As for the rest of the cast, it was pretty much, with a few additions, a case of getting the band – including the Spanish Inquisition – back together. 

This year I have a principal boy and a principal girl (both excellent) with whom I have never worked, along with a fluctuating chorus who are complete strangers. It’s very odd.

I had a message from Aleks the other day letting me know she’d be here for the weekend and asking if it would be okay to come to the rehearsal on Sunday. I said sure, although I warned her there would be hardly anyone there that she knew. Two people, in fact: BJ, who’s been in every panto staged since 2007, and John, who’s back for the first time since Will Shakespeare in 2014.

So, instead of seeing one another after tomorrow’s rehearsal, we decided to meet for lunch today at Alex’s restaurant. Managed a brief wave at him in the kitchen, but that was it. The restaurant (breakfast and lunch only) opened to rave reviews a few months ago, but this was my first visit.

When our sandwiches arrived, they looked so lovely we both had to take photos, even though this is something neither of us would normally do.

Lovely to catch up with my former leading lady. She’s having a hard time finding a time to catch up with her former leading man and his real life wife. Evenings are out. (“Do you have any idea how early we get up in the mornings these days?”) But she does have one commitment from him. She’s coming back in December to see Cinderella and Alex is attending with her. They plan to sit near the front, right behind the kids in the front row and boo their heads off. Can’t wait.

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