Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Script

As we go into autumn, pantomime opening night is increasingly closer. Quite frightening really how this year is speeding away from us. But as always here at the Hippodrome we are full steam ahead with everything Sleeping Beauty. From ordering the first batch of merchandise, to taking bookings for Christmas in our restaurant.

So it wasn't too much of a surprise when I received a large and bulky envelope on my desk this morning! Two copies of the first draft of the Sleeping Beauty script sent to me by Director Michael Harrison.

I've got it open on my desk at the moment "Act One" Scene One:Carabosse's Curse. There's some great special effects at the start of the panto and Joe Pasquale's entrance is funny. I'm always tempted to act out some of the roles myself I rather fancy myself as a baddie, I love all that hissing and booing.

There's 74 pages of script for the cast to learn, and that's not including all the choreography by Jon Bowles, there's also some magic consultants on board - The Twins - who also did the illusions in last year's production.

But that aside, having the script myself this far in advance really helps me to plan ahead with the pr campaign so hopefully fingers crossed it will get my brain cells working up some nice ideas over the next few weeks.

Friday, 21 August 2009

It's all about the costumes!

Director Michael Harrison blogs about the costumes in Sleeping Beauty:-

The costume plot on the panto is huge as are the Qdos stores in Scarborough. There are literally thousands of costumes to pick from stock but as this is Birmingham we have a lot of new stuff as well!

The costumes in Sleeping Beauty range from the wonderful brand new creations for Carabosse the Witch, Slimeball her son, a selection of "monsters", a whole set of seventies gear for a big 70's sequence in the show and some traditional outfits for Princess Beauty to the 22 costume changes for Ceri Dupree.

We don't make or design Ceri's costumes. He designs them himself and has a team of makers to prepare them. This is common with the very best Dames in the country. The costumes are part of the character so off the shelf items simply don't work. I can't give away the things Ceri will be doing in the show but the costumes are stunning.

The other interesting costume is the new outfit being made for the Enchantress. The Enchantress is a very magical character. She flies throughout the air so has a beautiful set of wings and her costume lights up. I've used a lot of "light up" costumes over the years and they work really well to help create the magic.

Its always important to have a stunning finale in the Birmingham panto and this year the colour is turquoise. Everything must match in the finale including the costumes and sets. Ceri has had to see pictures of the existing costumes to match his new creation up with what everyone else will be wearing. If you thought the peacock head dress at the launch was good... you aint seen nothing yet!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Super Scenery and Fab Floors?

The sets for Sleeping Beauty are well underway. There are several new pieces being built this year, a brand new forest, a new lair for Carabosse the witch and new castle pieces. This along with some other new additions will all go to making the Birmingham production as lavish as ever.

There's also going to be a new floor made which I'm assured by the Director Michael Harrison "looks fantastic". He said that it might sound boring talking about a floor in panto but an ugly floor in a theatre like the Hippodrome means a good portion of the audience spending over two hours looking down at the stage - get the floor the wrong colour or wrong design and the cosmetics of the show can look awful.

Michael recently visited the scenery stores in Yorkshire (I bet it's an Aladdin's cave - pardon the pun - of all things panto). He told me that he had spotted two huge props used for the entrances of Joe Pasquale and Ceri Dupree - I wanted to know a bit more but his lips were sealed. I suppose I will have to wait until the panto dress rehearsal for that!