I love to sing and oddly enough it was a song with that very phrase as its’ title, that I had to sing, during my first ever audition for Panto chorus at the tender age of 14. I still sing at every given opportunity: whether it be to the plants in the greenhouses, the wren nesting in the ivy or just as a way to make tedious jobs such as ironing and washing up, pass in a haze of remembered enjoyment, I will raise my voice and belt out a traditional Panto tune with complete lack of self-consciousness and no consideration for the feelings of neighbours or passing strangers.
When I sing, I am immediately transported back to the Panto stage, where who you were in real life was left at the stage door and your Panto personna took over in glorious techni-colour with over the top make-up and beautiful costumes.
I have some very happy memories of my time doing the Pantos including collapsing scenery during the opening scene of ‘Dick Whittington’, when an over enthusiastic villager pushed the windows of the street scene house open with a huge amount of force as we burst into a jolly and cheerful opening number:
‘Good morning, Good morning, We’ve danced the whole night through, Good morning, Good morning to you!”
Of course the first rule of Panto is that the show must go on and so, as a young village girl, I danced merrily with the others, pretending that having to leap over a demolished village house was actually part of the show.
Mind you the best opening scene disaster had to go to Aladdin, when a flash which had signaled the arrival of the evil Abanazar at the very start of the show, before the inner curtain had gone up, to reveal us villagers (the chorus were generally always villagers) merrily going about our business again, had accidentally set fire to the dried flowers on one of the market stalls.
Once again, in the true nature of Panto, we, not quite so happily this time it has to be said, continued to sing about the sun getting its’ hat on and coming out to play. We must have been very convincing though because one very helpful member of the audience, hurried up to the stage to whisper that the set was on fire! Really? You don’t say!
Thankfully a quick witted stage hand donned a spare villager coat and a thick pair of work gloves and stood smiling out at the audience, miming the words and clapping his hands together over the flower heads to try and put the fire out whilst another ran for the fire extinguisher. I remember being quite impressed that he even managed to clap in time with the music 🙂
The tricks and teases the main cast members played on each other, the hilarious bloopers from rehearsals and the amazingly cute dwarfs (played by a group of 7 – 10 year olds) are all still fresh in my memory, as are quite a number of the songs we sang and I sing them all! Often! And the Mudlets are starting to join in.
Of course, I’m not delusional and would never put myself through the humiliation of a TV talent show but at least I can hold a tune, unlike Mud. Mud also likes to sing. Sometimes! We would really rather that he didn’t!
Mind you that’s also pretty mutual, as my choice of songs which, being Panto songs are generally cheerful in the extreme, together with remembered choreography (and I use the word ‘choreography’ in its’ loosest sense) drive him mad but then I’m a woman and that’s part of the job description …… isn’t it?