It’s been our tradition in recent years to go to the Pantomime at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, which always stars comedians Allan Stewart and Andy Gray and Grant Stott from Radio Forth. Usually I book the tickets at the last moment and get a seat up in the gods. However, last year I was a bit more organised and got what I thought were good seats in the stalls. If I’d read the seating map properly, I’d have realised that they were THE front seats at the end of the row.
We loved being there, so close to the action, last year, so as soon as I had the chance, I booked the same seats for this year’s show.
Well, the first thing that happened was that we were sprayed with water from pantomime dame Stewart’s bosom. We thought we were fine after that.
The show itself was probably not the strongest or most topical script I’ve heard from that team, but it was good. Grant Stott’s effectiveness as a fiendishly villanous Captain Hook was offset by the fact that he kept getting the giggles. I’m also not sure whether Allan Stewart fluffed up his exit at one point, or whether that was part of the script. The song Blurred Lines has not made my feminist heart beat faster this year, but its panto equivalent, Slurred Lines, made me laugh.
My favourite character was Shona White, an accomplished performer from the musicals who played a very feisty take-no-prisoners Tinker Bell. The Peter Pan/Wendy love-interest thing was only slight but creepy nonetheless given that the first scene had had Wendy being tucked up in bed with a story.
The on-stage chemistry between the principals is so strong after so many years of working together, but still it’s fresh every year. And there is just no getting away from Allan being the best panto dame in the business. We normally go on the very last day but couldn’t get tickets for those seats. The cast is demob happy and just having a laugh, by then, so we did feel we missed out a little bit on that. Until just before the end.
I probably should say at this point that my lovely husband Bob doesn’t really take kindly to either surprises or being put on the spot. I’ve learned this the hard way over the past 27 years of living with him. So, when Allan Stewart came off the stage and stuck a microphone in his face and asked him to sing a little ditty in the style of Elvis Presley, I did fear a little bit for my Bob. He was brilliant, though. I was so proud of him. Knowing there was no escape, he just got on with it. Maybe Allan has shown me how to get my way more often… Anyway, singing is not his strong point, and these words will probably haunt him for some time to come:
Nickety Nackety Nickety NooNickety Nackety NayRum, tum, tickle your bumEveryone sing Hooray
Given that his musical taste is if it’s not playing in the hippest clubs in Ibiza he doesn’t listen to it, you can imagine how exruciating that bit of trash must have been for him. And, bless him, singing isn’t exactly his strong suit.
He did so well and, if you asked him if he enjoyed it, in his heart of hearts, he would, I think, say that he did. People were coming up to him on the way out and telling him he did great.
I had a minor moment in the spotlight as well. I should have said that Andy Gray was filming all this from the stage and it appeared on the big screen. Allan asked me where we were from and I said Livingston. He said that the town was famous for beautiful women and rugby players and then asked what position I played.
Afterwards, Anna and I were talking about when exactly we should let Bob forget about today. We agreed never. And given the absolute look of joy on her face while all this was going on, I think that’s a wise choice.
Allan Stewart, you made my life. Ta for that.
The next exciting thing in my life comes tomorrow when I’m covering Alistair Carmichael’s keynote speech. Al, you have a bit to live up to, here. No pressure, though. You’ll be fab, too.