The year was 1973 – I know, pre-history for most of you – and the pantomime was The Silver Curlew. It was based on the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin who, in this case, was Tom Tit Tot, played by John Ramage who later went on to success as a professional actor. The secret password, by the way, was ‘Nimmy nimmy not, my name is Tom Tit Tot.’ There, I’ve given the game away – end of panto. Anyway, to get back to this anecdote, Judy Rose (Chrichton back then) was the leading lady, Bob Somerville was in it, the Curlew was played by a Betty Brandon Lovely called Anna and a wee Mandy Black was a Puffy Dumpling??? I need some help with my memories.
I was the eedjit who had to spin the gold whilst singing, ‘He’ll come again in half an hour, In half an hour I’ll have nothing to show. Nothing to show, nothing to show… ‘ I’m singing this as I type. You get the picture.
Anne Thompson, our lovely put-upon Wardrobe Mistress, had volunteered to provide the puffy dumplings for this scene – not the wee dancers, that was Betty Brandondon – but the real baked kind. She made a huge batch on the Sunday Move-in day for the whole run. After the song, we had the dance, during which I had to greedily eat puffy dumplings. They became steadily more disgusting as the run progressed and as soon as the curtain was drawn at the end of the dance and the lights dimmed, I regurgitated a huge mouthful of puffy dumplings, rushed off stage to the crew room, found a bucket, washed my hands, had a quick mouth wash and then headed back up to the side of the stage.
Part 2 to follow – the Great EPT Fire of 1973.