BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Julian Clary and his panto pals still aim for Christmas fun 

Julian Clary tried on his new costume for the London Palladium Pantoland spectacular yesterday and declared: ‘The show will go on!’

Julian Clary tried on his new costume for the London Palladium Pantoland spectacular yesterday and declared: ‘The show will go on!’

Julian Clary tried on his new costume for the London Palladium Pantoland spectacular yesterday and declared: ‘The show will go on!’

Julian Clary tried on his new costume for the London Palladium Pantoland spectacular yesterday and declared: ‘The show will go on!’

When the second lockdown started there were fears that the pantomimes and festive treats planned for the Yuletide season wouldn’t be allowed to open. But by all accounts, it would appear that Christmas won’t be cancelled after all (yes, that old chestnut).

As Clary was being fitted into his gaily coloured frock — while wearing a safety visor (pictured) — Pantoland showman Michael Harrison was busy preparing for rehearsals. 

These will begin on November 30, with Clary joined by Elaine Paige, Beverley Knight, Ashley Banjo and Diversity, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin, Charlie Stemp and Jac Yarrow. Pantoland is set to run at the Palladium from December 12. 

Next week Harrison will hold a mass Zoom meeting with the Pantoland ensemble, plus the casts and crews from the nine regional pantos he’s presenting with the Qdos group. 

‘You spend as much time on the Covid-19 measures we’re bringing in as you do talking about the shows.

As Clary was being fitted into his gaily coloured frock — while wearing a safety visor (pictured) — Pantoland showman Michael Harrison was busy preparing for rehearsals

As Clary was being fitted into his gaily coloured frock — while wearing a safety visor (pictured) — Pantoland showman Michael Harrison was busy preparing for rehearsals

As Clary was being fitted into his gaily coloured frock — while wearing a safety visor (pictured) — Pantoland showman Michael Harrison was busy preparing for rehearsals

‘Everybody’s going to take part. Not just for themselves, but for the good of others,’ said Harrison, who told me that each of his shows will have a Covid marshal.

‘One marshal per show, to ensure everybody maintains social distancing; how props are passed, how to keep socially distant on stage — and in the auditorium, and front of house. All the safety procedures will be in place to make sure all the staff, and all of the audience, are safe.’

‘Everybody’s going to take part. Not just for themselves, but for the good of others,’ said Harrison, who told me that each of his shows will have a Covid marshal. He is seen above in Goldilocks and the Three Bears last year

‘Everybody’s going to take part. Not just for themselves, but for the good of others,’ said Harrison, who told me that each of his shows will have a Covid marshal. He is seen above in Goldilocks and the Three Bears last year

‘Everybody’s going to take part. Not just for themselves, but for the good of others,’ said Harrison, who told me that each of his shows will have a Covid marshal. He is seen above in Goldilocks and the Three Bears last year

He admitted that when news of the second lockdown broke ‘hearts sank across theatreland’. 

‘But in our business, everybody rallies together. And that’s what we’ve been doing.’ 

He noted that his shows alone will provide 2,000 jobs for theatre freelancers — which will further boost the industry’s ecosystem, including the restaurants, bars and shops in the vicinity of the various venues. 

Now, though, he and Clary have to re-write the Pantoland script. Again. 

‘There’s new material coming in every day!’ he said, explaining that news of the vaccine had not just cheered everybody up, but also provided another rich source of risque gags.

Lily James joined Shazad Latif, Emma Thompson, director Shekhar Kapur and writer Jemima Khan for a read-through last week of Khan’s first feature film script, tentatively titled What’s Love Got To Do With It? 

Set mostly in London and Pakistan, the romantic comedy is about two friends (James and Latif) who fall in love. The Working Title and Studio Canal film is due to be filmed next month.

Watch out for…

John Lloyd Young, who won the Tony award for his portrayal of Frankie Valli in the original New York production of Jersey Boys (he also led the movie version, directed by Clint Eastwood).

Young will be performing his Vegas Holiday show from The Space in Las Vegas, which will be streamed live on December 4, and available on demand for a further week (thespacelv.com).

Young will be performing his Vegas Holiday show from The Space in Las Vegas, which will be streamed live on December 4

Young will be performing his Vegas Holiday show from The Space in Las Vegas, which will be streamed live on December 4

Young will be performing his Vegas Holiday show from The Space in Las Vegas, which will be streamed live on December 4

I well remember arriving in Manhattan back in October 2005, when my friend Adrian Bryan-Brown, the Broadway spokesman, told me to cancel my plans and head to an early preview of Jersey Boys. Watch the show, he told me, but in particular watch Lloyd Young, because ‘he’s going to be a star’.

I rarely do as I’m told, but on this occasion I’m pleased that I did. What a voice.

Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker, who star in musical revue Marry Me A Little. Originally conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene in 1980, it uses discards, remnants and early compositions by Stephen Sondheim.

This production was running at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester — until it was halted by the second lockdown.

Director Kirk Jameson and his creative team had the good sense to film the revival, which will be streamed from Thursday (November 19) and run till November 22. Tickets are £13.50 via barntheatre.org.uk/all-venues.

Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker star in musical revue Marry Me A Little

Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker star in musical revue Marry Me A Little

Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker star in musical revue Marry Me A Little

The show’s title number was cut from Sondheim’s Company, though it’s now sung at the end of act one in most productions.

Other songs given a new lease on life include There Won’t Be Trumpets (axed from Anyone Can Whistle); and Saturday Night (title number from a show Sondheim wrote music and lyrics for in 1954 that wasn’t performed until the Bridewell Theatre mounted it in 1997…Olivier winner Tracie Bennett was in it!).

There are many others, but I must mention Bang!, which never made it out of rehearsals for A Little Night Music, and All Things Bright And Beautiful, one of many songs that fell by the wayside during the writing of Follies.

This production was running at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester — until it was halted by the second lockdown. Director Kirk Jameson and his creative team had the good sense to film the revival, which will be streamed from Thursday (November 19) and run till November 22

This production was running at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester — until it was halted by the second lockdown. Director Kirk Jameson and his creative team had the good sense to film the revival, which will be streamed from Thursday (November 19) and run till November 22

This production was running at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester — until it was halted by the second lockdown. Director Kirk Jameson and his creative team had the good sense to film the revival, which will be streamed from Thursday (November 19) and run till November 22

Link hienalouca.com

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