Stirring Dull Roots

April, when normal people haul out the lawnmower and pull the tarp off the patio chairs but Panto Folk start thinking about… their next costume. Yes, the Pantalon Players are at it again. Teatro Avogaria, Venice, January 12th to 14th. If you’ve had trouble getting tickets for Tosca wait till booking opens for this hot little number.

We’re doing Sleeping Beauty, a bummer of a story from the scriptwriter’s point of view given that nothing much happens in Act II but I decided to treat this vacuum as a gift and fill it with whatever took my fancy. There will be complaints. There are sticklers who still haven’t forgiven me for introducing a fox into the story of Cinderella but then, that’s why they are accountants and I’m a writer.

This time around I’ve ceded the director’s chair to Frank O’Halloran. He has exactly the right mix of calm, firmness and good humour and will save me from needing to lie down in a darkened room at the end of each rehearsal. I’m now free to set off on my own ego trip: Cobweb, a fairy of mature years.

Beryl Reid used to tackle her characters from the shoes up. I’m starting from the other end. I have ordered a lavender wig. Wigs are tricky. You have to play with them, show them who’s boss, make them your own. We shall see. If it doesn’t work out I have a blonde Weetabix confection lined up as an alternative. That might be fun. I’ve never been a blonde. In any event, if I go for the lavender, I predict my characterisation will owe more to Mrs Slocombe than it will to Dame Edna.

Meanwhile, back in the normal world, I just earthed up my first planting of potatoes. Looking good, guys. Looking good.

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