“Dick McWhittington” which I finally can say without any stumble was my second year of panto in the SECC, and when comparing it with last year’s “Jack and the Beanstalk”, I started to see some patterns. In the beginning, the bad guy comes from the right side on the stage, the good fairy from the left ;)
So, from the right side came Pete Gallagher as King Rat, “Muhahahaha”. He has a great deep voice. He told us he wanted to swarm Glasgow with his army of rats, which also included bankers, journalists and politicians. From the left side came Ashley Grey, this time she was Aurora, the spirit of the Northern lights. She said that a Glaswegian boy was on his way to help fight the rats! The audience gave a huge cheer at that.
She also told us that Dick was actually on his way to London, to find his luck, and she needed our help to get him back. We were supposed to shout “Turn again Dick McWhittington, Lord Provost of Glasgow!” I had never heard the word “provost” before in my life and apparently King Rat hadn’t either. He turned to the audience and said: “Don’t pretend you know what that means!”
To which Aurora replied: “Put it this way – you have Boris Johnson, we have Dick McWhittington!”
Because I was unsure what to shout, I didn’t actually take part in my first show. But even all the other times – no matter how loud we shouted, she always let us repeat it two more times until she was satisfied ;)
King Rat did actually not believe that Dick would choose Glasgow over London, but then the curtain opened, and we saw a nice street scenery with the dancers and Aurora was singing the One Direction song “Live while we’re young” (although they changed the lyrics a bit to fit the story better)
Hey boy, I'm waitin' on ya, I'm waitin' on ya
Come on and let me sneak you out
There’ll be a celebration, a celebration
because we’re gonna break the town.
Continue reading behind the LJ cut:
From the left side one boy came over with some kind of luggage trolley/cart, which was empty, and they put a suitcase on it and then continued to pile one suitcase onto the next until there was a tower of maybe four or five of them.
Now, just at Christmas, I had seen the “Nutcracker” ballet by Tchaikovski from San Francisco in TV and they had done the very same thing. Only there they had piled up gifts and then a life sized nutcracker had come out of them in the end.
So, I was mentally prepared for what was about to come, and had my eye glued to this tower of suitcases right from the beginning, yet it came as a totally surprise when in the middle of the song suddenly there were fireworks, the door burst open, and out stepped John Barrowman, who also had a bundle with him, yelling: “Hello Glasgow!” and joining in with the singing and dancing (there was also a key change, because he’s good like that):
Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy till we see the sun
We’re all in this together so let’s have some fun
We’ll never, never, never stop for anyone
Tonight let's get set
And live while we're young
In the last matinee, right here in the beginning he grabbed the cutest of the female dancers and held her very close to him.
John also walked to each far side of the stage while singing, waved his hand to the side seats, the front stalls and also the upper circles, and yelled “Hello Glasgow!” a few more times and we all waved and yelled back.
And you can say what you want, but as soon as John is on stage, there is a sparkle in the house and an extra energy, and your eyes are glued to him, following every one of his steps. It’s like magic. This man belongs onto a stage.
So, while he’s still busy singing and dancing and repeating the chorus with yet another key change (told you he was good), let’s take a break and talk about the magic trick. Because there was a Radio4 segment for five continuing days after Christmas, and each day they visited a different part of the SECC to learn about all the secrets of the show. We now know that the costumes are sprinkled in Whiskey to make them antibacterial, and the radio reporter also got locked into the place John was hiding in before coming out like that. It looks from the outside like only one inch, but is in fact actually about nine inches. Which is still not much, all things considered. But enough for John to lay flat on his back (I suppose) in the base of the luggage trolley and when you looked really closely (which I was able to do from the fourth row), you could see that it was thicker than it looked, but still a very tight fit. According to the radio show they then closed the trap door above him and poor guy had to hide there in the dark for about a minute until he could drag himself up and out into the suitcases. Maybe not the nicest thing to do for someone with claustrophobia, and let’s not forget about the bundle!
After the song finished, the others left the stage and only Dick and the fairy remained. You could tell that he was impressed by her sparklyness (is that a word?). “I have no idea who you are but I sure want to find out!”
He told her that he had actually been on his way to London but then he heard three thousand – actually not so loud!!! – voices yell: “Turn again Dick McWhittington, Lord Provost of Glasgow!”, and well, here he was! Since he had no money, he had stowed away on a train, and hid behind some luggage. The sentence was actually a bit more complicated (and sounded very Scottish) and in one show John stumbled about it and couldn’t get his words out. He had to try three times and speak slower than usual until he finally got it right. Didn’t help much that he was laughing at the same time ;)
Anyway, he had stowed away, and now here he was, poof! (“And proud of it!”)
After the fairy had vanished, Dick just wanted to leave the stage as well, when a young girl came out of the sweets shop, looking for Jimmy. Dick was lost for words and could only make unidentifiable noises to show his attraction. At the last matinee, this went on for even longer than usual, because the girl made the same noises back at him.
They walked towards each other and when they met he asked for her name.
“I am – I am tongue-tied!”
“Well, that’s a rather silly name!”
“I am – I am…”
“You are gorgeous!”
Finally she was able to tell him that her name was Ailsa and he introduced himself as well. He also asked her straight away what she planned to do with the rest of her life!
“Well, that’s rather cheesy!?”
And what was John’s reply to that? He actually fell out of his role, turned to the front of the stage and the audience and said: “You think this is cheesy? The show has just started, you haven’t seen anything yet!”
I took that as a promise that the evening would turn out to be another hilarious one, and I was not disappointed.
Ailsa mentioned that she had seen some rats in the sweets shop, so King Rat and his army had indeed arrived to destroy Glasgow and also the Commonwealth Games.
They left the stage to warn the others and now it was time for the first Krankie solo part. This time they came onto stage driving in bumper cars. While Janette aka wee Jimmy came out of it rather quickly (she is very agile for her age!), poor Ian took longer each time and got stuck and needed help to get up and out.
The jokes were flying so fast now that I really had trouble to follow – especially with the broad Glaswegian accent. Then again if I wrote them all down we would sit here tomorrow morning still.
Janette started with saying how good it is to be back in the Sexy Center. This joke carried over from last year already. Ian corrected her that it is not the Sexy Center but the SECC. But she didn’t let herself to be disconcerted and added that over there another Sexy Center had been built – the Pyro. Again Ian corrected her and told her that it is not the Pyro but the Hydro in fact.
“But it was the Pyro when it went in fire last year!” (this is one of the insider Glasgow jokes, apparently the roof had been in flames last Summer. Ouch!)
Also, her phone was ringing all the time and there were a couple of business jokes. Like this:
“I have a new business - cutting down trees.” - “How’s business?” – “I have branches everywhere!”
“I have a new business - recycling calendars.” – “How’s business?” – “My days are numbered!”
“I have a new business - selling violins.” – “How’s business?” – “To be honest, I'm a wee bit on the fiddle."
Ian aka the Councillor was looking for help for his shop. So they played out a scene where Jimmy was the shop assistant and Ian was the customer. Well, actually he was a lady customer. The first time he came, Jimmy asked:
"What ye wantin'?"
"Is there something wrong with your grammar?"
"No she's keeping fine" LOL
(This is actually one of the jokes I never got during my time there but a friend just kindly explained it to me. Tell you, they should put subtitles at the Scottish parts. Why not? The opera does it when they sing in Italian)
So he walked over again and Jimmy asked:
“Would you like a chicken leg?” – “Oi, never say leg in front of a lady!”
“Would you like a chicken breast?” – “Oi, never say breast in front of a lady!”
“You won’t like our soup then.” – “Why?” – “It’s cock-a-leekie!”
And so on LOL
At the last matinee, they went so much off script that Ian had no idea where they were anymore and John again threw a few scripts onto the stage from the side where he was hiding, and when Janette went to pick them up, he grabbed her and snatched her from our sight completely LOL
So Jimmy’s job would be “Clean the sink, stack the shelves, clean the cooker and cook the cookies”. What a mouthful!
The scene ended with Ian asking: “Who are you talking to?” – “The man in fourth row who doesn’t look interested but got dragged here because his wife wanted to see John Barrowman!”
The mentioning of his name gave John his cue to come back on stage again. Ian somehow vanished, so it was only John and Janette now. He actually had to kneel down so they were face to face. Before, while he still was standing, he introduced himself as “Dick” and, since she was right on eye level with you-know-what, one time she said: “It’s appropriate!” LOL
While they were talking face-to-face now, there was a lot of cuddling and Janette put her arms around John’s neck, and his hands fondled her here and there as well. Still they managed to stick to their script – mostly, which included yet a few more business jokes:
Janet said: “I have a new business - selling barbecues for midgets.” – “How’s business?” - “Stakes/steaks are too high!”
John said that he also had a new business: “Selling margarine.” - “How’s business?” – “Could be butter/better!”
At one time they had quite a laugh when Janette mixed up her answer which had nothing to do with the actual business. It can happen after so many shows ;)
John, I mean Dick, said that he had a problem because he had nowhere to stay. But Jimmy invited him, as they had a spare bedroom and didn’t want to pay the bedroom tax. Apparently a stab at UK politics there.
Then the army of rats in the bodies of the male and female dancers arrived and they and Dick had a nice dance-fight to the music of ”Mission Impossible”. He threw one this way and the other that way, and the third was jumping on his back, so he turned around in circles while she was hanging there, feet in the air, and then threw her off.
Only, at the last matinee she had her legs around his body and held on for dear life. He could not get rid of her ;) Important body parts were in serious danger, as tights are not very protective, and somehow that was exactly where she had her feet ;) He yelled “Oi, you’re crushing it!” and then vanished from the stage to let her finally down.
At the last matinee, together with the rats also a Dalek had rolled onto stage. Hilarious sight. Every show is suddenly ten times better when it has a Dalek in it. Trust me.
Then came the first confrontation between Dick and King Rat. The latter appeared with a huge cloud of smoke and stench. Dick was wrinkling his nose and trying to clear the air with his hands, while complaining about it. King Rat said that it was “Eau de toilet” and in the last matinee he added that it was actually from the HIM line by a certain John Barrowman, available at QVC ;) That came unexpected *giggles* John though did jump at the opportunity to tell the audience that it was available again next Tuesday. Always the salesman, he is! LOL
The usual reply to the Eau de toilette was “Toilet water” though. That would explain the stench indeed. Actually, the dialogue went like this:
King Rat: "It was good enough for Brad Pitt!"
Dick: “More like his brother Seth!"
While I understood the words, I actually had no idea where the part for laughing was. Only now, thanks to a friend, I got enlightened: With the pronunciation, it was a play with the word “cesspit”.
While they were talking, Dick tried to get himself ready for the battle, and John wiggled his arms and legs and his bum and tried to look menacing, but only managed to look comical ;) The audience was in stitches already, and they hadn’t even started properly.
After a bit more of banter King Rat whipped his tail again and John did another one of those stunts that had me amazed last year already: He let himself fall backwards, then rolled over his head (like a backwards headstand), ended up at one side and then rolled around a bit more, until he laid flat on his back, beaten.
King Rat came over to put his foot in victorious style onto his body, and you all can imagine WHICH part of his anatomy he picked to grind his foot into ;) Another opportunity for John to flinch, groan, and make some of those desperate-funny faces he is so good at. I still am giggling from the memory of last year when the princess was slipping more and more from his arms. It’s really too bad there is no DVD of this to keep the memories.
When he complained at the treatment King Rat once said “You deserve it!” and at the last show he added “It’s the last show, you don’t need it anymore!” He also asked the audience: “Who wants to buy my boots?” He intended to sell them on ebay. Heh! You know, I still am holding up hope that John will become a Dad one day, as this seems to be his biggest wish, but after this, I am not so sure anymore ;)
King Rat disappeared, the others came back and John made a show of getting up from the ground. In one of the four shows I saw he also continued his dialogue in the following scene with a very high voice. Then he rearranged the “package”, and got his normal voice back ;)
Dick and Ailsa and Jimmy and the Councillor thought that he needed some reinforcement to fight the rats – a cat maybe? But it would need to wear a hat to disguise its ears a little. “A cat in a hat” then. It also could be rolled into a mat and be disguised as a bat. So that would be “A cat in a hat rolled in a mat disguised as a bat…” With each added phrase, Janette was telling the whole sentence again, which became more difficult each time. I lost count after the bat but there was also some “to flatten the rat” and “tit for tat” and “bit of a brat” and “shout drat” and something with “fat” and “splat” and quite a lot more. The longer it went on, the more cheers she got each time.
John was very mean, he did not just say the line with “drat”, he sung it with a very complicated and high melody so Janette had to copy that as well. It actually sounded like the sound Tarzan makes ;)
But where would Dick get a cat? Luckily, we still had Aurora, the panto fairy. She knew just the right guy for this job and introduced us to Tomtom. Tomtom was the cutest cat ever. He never said a word, but his facial expressions and body language were wonderful.
There was another solo Krankie bit, the Councillor came with a plate full of buns and said “Krankie’s cookies is kaputt” (why is it that so many of the German words in the English language are bad ones? Waldsterben, Blitzkrieg…)
They put the plate onto a shelf to the side and taught the audience to yell “Don’t touch the buns, leave the buns alane!” whenever someone wanted to snatch them. We tried that a few times, first this side of the room, then the other.
Of course, as soon as they had left the stage, the door opened and Dick and Tomtom tiptoed into the house with the guy at the piano making appropriate noises (and John also making appropriate noises like “Meow!” LOL)
But then the piano guy turned up the speed and John yelled: “Oi, not so fast!”
Of course he immediately spotted the buns on the shelf. He wanted to get rid of them because they could attract rats. But when he went over, we all yelled dutifully: “Don’t touch the buns, leave the buns alane!”
And the Krankies came back and Janette asked: “Who is touching my buns?” And John replied said: “You haven’t said that since 1964!” Janette corrected “1984” but Ian had the last word: “1974”. Although the numbers and years changed from time to time ;)
Whatever the year, the others doubted that Tomtom, since he was so nice and friendly, that he would be any good at rat-fighting. Cue some rats again at the stage, and this time Dick stood to the side and left Tomtom to do all the fighting. Some fine martial arts there! Especially the fight between Tomtom and another female rat looked rather good. He overdid it a bit at the last matinee though, doing so many funny Jackie Chan moves that she finally run out of anything to do herself and just stood there, bored, waiting till he was finished LOL
The others left, Ailsa and her father remained on the stage, and she asked if they could invite John, I mean Dick, to her birthday party. I think every JB fan totally understands this wish of hers ;) Her father said he seems like a nice fella, although a bit ridiculous. Yeah, describes John in a nutshell ;)
Anyway, they imagined what the party will be like, with music and dances and…
…a red glittery curtain came down, and suddenly little Janette stepped out in a black tail coat with a top hat and a cane and sang “Everybody needs a best friend” from the movie “Ted”.
My words are lazy, my thoughts are hazy
But this is one thing I’m sure of.
Everybody needs a best friend!
I’m happy I’m yours!
After her first verse, the curtain opened again and at my first show I made a rather loud “Awwwww” sound when John came out, equally smartly dressed, and sang the duet with Janet.
I’ll be your double,
if you’re in trouble
Just like the Brother beside you
Everybody needs a best friend!
I’m happy I’m yours!
Behind him were all the dancers in the same clothes and it looked like one of those old shows with Fred Astaire. I truly truly loved it. I wouldn’t mind watching a whole evening of that. John is our last chance to still get such old fashioned shows, those that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Bing Crosby did. *sigh*
There was a little bit in the middle of the song where Janette moved to the left side of the stage and John to the right, to give the dancers a bit of solo and our well deserved attention. Only, well, it did not work with me. As long as I am in the same room with John, my eyes are inevitably drawn to him, I can’t help it. I managed to look at him with one eye and at the dancers with the other, though. But it is better when both are in the general same direction ;)
A fool could see decidedly,
That you’re a ten and
I’m a three.
A royal breed is what you need,
So how did you come to be stuck with a bummer like me?!
At the end, they went full force, all together putting their legs high up into the air, singing at the top of their lungs, but then, like in many John Barrowman songs, it became very quiet again for the last line:
I'm just a clown, and
I'll bring you down
But you don't care 'cause
Your best friend is me! Come on wee Jimmy!
And with that they turned their backs at us and went through the curtain again. We hardly had time for applause before they vanished completely, and the curtain got up as if it hadn’t been there. There was a very cheap joke between Ailsa, who wanted to know about her birthday present, and her father, who gave her a hint:
“It’s in a box and it has diamonds on it – a pack of cards!” *groan* LOL
But really soon the door opened and Dick and his cat and also Jimmy came back into the room. Those were some really quick costume changes!
Ailsa went to bed now but first she sent a flying kiss to Dick. It was flying through the air while lovely music played and Dick followed it with his eyes and made funny noises, looked a bit like a moth was flying LOL And with a very high pitched voice he said: “Oh, a flying kiss!” Finally he caught it in his fist and then had his mouth all over his hand, licking it and savoring everything from the kiss. Janette took the opportunity to ask: “Do you think she fancies Dick?”
Yeah, I think she does.
After Ailsa had left, the councilor (which we Germans always understood as “Künstler”) showed us all her birthday gift, a rather blinky necklace. It looked very nice, even though it was from the pound shop. Jimmy put it into the safe in the wall and gave the key to Dick. In the last matinee, someone had hanged a rather HUGE key and key ring onto there, but Janette still managed to find the real one hidden behind it. I already had been wondering how John was supposed to put THAT into his bundle *giggles*
Dick said he would guard the key with his life and just for a moment I got a glimpse of Captain Jack Harkness there, with the serious expression and determined voice. It’s really fascinating to see how he is able to change just like that. The Krankies left for bed, and Dick and Tomtom had a bit of chat, which admittedly was a bit one-sided.
Dick mused about the day he had, with meeting a fairy – “not for the first time!” – thankfully last year someone explained the other meaning of fairy to me. Then he put the key into his bundle and lied down at the table to have a sleep. Tomtom was supposed to keep guard and then wake him up and have a “catnap” but after only two times of patrolling he fell asleep as well.
Oh no, that couldn’t be good.
The door opened and in crept King Rat – “Muhahahaha” – and opened the safe with his tail and a big explosion. It’s a wonder Dick did not wake up from it ;) Oh no, he was putting the necklace into Dick’s bundle! The kids boooed at him, but to no avail.
The next morning, Dick awoke and stretched and after everyone was back on stage, they sang “Happy Birthday” to Ailsa and she got a huge cake. Jimmy then wanted the key to open the safe but no – it already was open! And only Dick had the key!
“I swear, I put it in here, it’s still there, check for yourself!” With those words he gave the bundle to father Krankie and guess what he found in there? Yes, the necklace of course. Many shocked faces and dramatic music occurred and then came the scene where I always felt a sudden urge to cuddle John because he looked so lost and forlorn.
The Councillor banned him from Glasgow forever. Everyone blamed him to be a thief and a liar and no good and he made the saddest face you can imagine. Well, at least he tried to. Sometimes he had a hard time because he had to laugh when we all yelled “Awwwww!” very loudly. At some shows he even conducted our Awwws with his hands for several minutes when he felt we weren’t pitying him enough. At one show a kid yelled from above “I believe you!” and he really lost it at that time and then yelled back “Thank you, but sadly you are not part of the show!”
While the piano played the “Everybody needs a best friend” again slowly, Dick went to father Krankie and Jimmy and also Ailsa and tried to explain but they all just turned their back on him. Sometimes John took his time while standing at their backsides and swatted them with his bundle. At the last matinee, we all boooed at father Krankie and even though their backs were turned, you could see them shaking with laughter ;) When Dick came to Jimmy, Jimmy also boooed him, which we found even more hilarious. The last matinee certainly is not to be missed. Did I mention that I already have tickets for next year?
Somewhere someone also said “Just take your pussy and leave” *giggle* Yeah, I am easily amused.
Dick then intended to do just that, and when he was at the door already, Ailsa called after him: “Richard!” O-o, why did she not call him “Dick”? Because now she put the dagger through his heart with saying “I never want to see you again!” into Dick’s face and you just have to believe me that it was really, really sad *giggles*
At the very last show on Sunday evening, John jumped down so quickly on his way to Ailsa (there was a bit of step to where the door was) that he somehow slipped or stumbled and suddenly crashed face down at the stage floor. He simply vanished from our sight. We know John likes to take false falls from time to time but that was a real one. You could tell by all the shocked faces of the others. Especially after what happened last time with him being thrown off the horse and having to spend the night in hospital, I guess they were very worried. Lisa/Ailsa first also was shocked and choked up but then she couldn’t stop laughing, she couldn’t even get her line out. John/Dick had to tell her “Don’t cry, I’ll be okay, I have another one.” It was so sweet. He’s really good at comforting.
After she turned her back on him he did leave for real this time, and put on a bit of a limp for effect – at least I hope it was put on because other than that you couldn’t notice anything during the rest of the show, and he surely has learnt how to fall and brace himself with all the stunts he likes to do. (At least that’s what I am telling myself because otherwise I would be worried that for the second year, he stayed afterwards and did pictures with fans even though he was hurting, and I could not bear that thought).
To give them time to change the stage, we got another scene between King Rat and Aurora. This time he called Dick “McWimbledon” *giggles* At the last matinee the two of them did like a poetry battle, with saying their lines and going back and forth, that was quite awesome!
Somewhere in there also was the famous “Oh yes I will!” – “Oh no you won’t!” Pete did a few variations of it this time, sometimes he sung it in an opera voice and we tried to match him as good as possible.
I loved especially when he told the audience: “Bring on your abuse! I get paid to smell this bad, but what’s your excuse?”
Anyway, back to the show. The Krankies wanted to leave for Morocco the next day. They hoped Ailsa would forget about Dick when on vacation. On stage we now had two bedrooms, with a wall and a door in between, and a huge bed in each.
Father Krankie came in, dressed in some funny night gear. Jimmy also came in, still dressed in his Jimmy clothes. The Councillor wanted to catch his beauty sleep and Jimmy said that she would set the alarm for Easter then LOL Then she just put her night gown over her clothes because Shaun the weatherman from STV said it was going to be a bit chilly, and Jimmy didn’t want a chilly willy. When Janette put up her hat she laughed and said it looked like a wee pair of trousers, because it had not one but two tails and even a wee willy hole, where she put her finger through.
The Councillor shouted from the other room: “Stop using the W word! Two willies in one night is far too much!" and then he asked: “Why do you love the W word that much?" - "cause I haven't got one!"
Before Janette went into her bed, she walked around on stage some more, displaying “the latest nightwear collection by Ann Summers".
Then they went to sleep, each in their own bed. And I was VERY disappointed. The bed scene with John had been one of my most favourite parts from last time, and I told my friend so much about it, and now it was just Janette and Ian and no John? That somehow didn’t feel right.
Then again, they just had chucked out Dick and never wanted to see him again, so I seriously could not see how he would end up in bed with them.
Should have known that I was being mislead LOL
As soon as Janette had said “Night Ian – I mean, Councillor” the door opened and we all cheered but John shushed us while he was tiptoeing in. He was dressed in colorful pyjamas, with Spiderman displayed on them. They didn’t look like John’s usual Superman or cookie monster pyjamas - if you don’t believe me, just look them up on his Twitter - he takes pictures of them. Seriously. And he actually confirmed now on Twitter that these were especially made for him, so sorry, you can’t buy them.
So, the door opened and John came in dressed in these red pajamas. Which was a very nice sight I have to tell you. But it all got topped at the last matinee on Sunday. Those that read my other Glasgow bits know already that the day before some young man dressed up as the Tenth Doctor had made John a gift – two gifts actually. Well, and John wore them now. It was the Captain Jack bathrobe! It’s fairly new, so if you want one, buy it! It looks like this:
I’m not sure why I was the only one that squeed really loudly at this sight but I did. Couldn’t help myself. And once he took this robe off, guess what he wore underneath? You won’t, not in a million of years. The TARDIS onesie. Yes. Here is a picture of it:
From now on I’ll just stick to the names of John, Janette and Ian, because this scene is just them having fun ;) John touched Janette’s shoulder to quietly wake her up, but she made such a loud noise that of course Ian heard it and came over to look what the trouble was. He wanted to push John out again but we got another very sad John-face and he was fondling the bedpost in a very cute way while saying that he was homeless and has nowhere to stay and we all awwwwwed him some more. He’s so good at those faces I tell you! The audience is eating out of his hands.
Janette was moved as well and said okay, he can stay. “For one night only.” – “Hey, that’s one of the songs from my last album!”
Ian, who already had returned to his bed, shouted from over there: “Should have sold some of them, then you wouldn’t be homeless!”
Apparently, this whole thing had not been in the show before Christmas, some day Janette must have added it as an afterthought and then they kept it. And John broke down giggling every single time, and the audience with him, obviously.
So John DID get into bed with Janette in the end, and they cuddled. He couldn’t help adding though that the album had been platinum ;) And one or two times Ian topped it with “Should have bought a platinum house then.”
Now they were in bed, Janette admitted that she had been looking forward to this part the whole year. I cannot imagine why LOL “All the women in the audience are very jealous, and so are some of the men!”
Each of the four times they played this, it was a bit different, they took their time to find the right position, a bit of spooning this way or that way, until they settled down. And God knows what she was doing to him under the sheets that we didn’t see. Usually he told her to keep her hands above the sheets, but the more we came to the last shows, he didn’t mind so much anymore ;)
At one point also Tomtom tiptoed into the room and lied down at the bed. John stroked him. And then added quite cheeky: “First time for everything!” and when the audience failed to get the joke, he shouted: “Oi! I am handing them to you on a platter!” LOL
Oh right, there was also a story somewhere in here, was there? Back to Dick, who wanted to leave in the morning, but could not tell the time, as he didn’t have an alarm clock. Jimmy had a wonderful way to tell the time – with his trumpet! He had a trumpet under the sheet, put it to his lips and of course didn’t blow it himself, the man in the orchestra did. Here is where it gets interesting: The guy chose a different tune each time. So far we recognized the melodies of the TV series “Dallas” and “Dynasty”, also “Muppets” and “A-Team” and “Copacabana” (thanks to everyone for help on this one). John usually commented on them when he recognized it but sometimes he didn’t. At the last matinee, Louise actually asked the man to play “Rhinestone Cowboy” and the James Bond theme, but both were not recognizable at all ;)
After Jimmy played that trumpet, father Krankie sat up in his bed and said: “Oi! Who is blowing that trumpet at 2 o’clock in the morning!”
And Dick and Jimmy knew which time it was.
The same was done again a bit later and again Ian said: “Oi! Who is blowing that trumpet at quarter past two in the morning!” And John said how he loved how Janette is picking up the trumpet, puts it to her lips, starts playing but it takes another 6 seconds for the sound to actually come out ;)
They finally settled for sleep but then suddenly a ghost came flowing up in the air from the right side, waving his arms. Ian shrieked, went through the door into the other room and said that something horrible was in his room! Janette replied dryly: “It’s in here now!”
Ian also wanted to get into their bed but obviously it was too small for three people. So while he got in from the right side, John fell out on the left side. With so much force that his arm stuck right through the “wall”.
“I just punched a hole into the set! It’s gonna be taken off my wages!” He giggled with his high voice and if I had seen the show just once, I would have totally believed it.
I have talked to someone who saw the show before Christmas and this is another bit that was not there back then. So I assume one day it must really have happened by accident and then they kept it. John’s arm had vanished till the shoulder actually. He showed us the size of the hole and then tried to cover it by standing there with his back towards the wall.
But then also shrieked because “a stage hand” came out of the hole fondling him LOL At the last matinee, it were even two arms. THAT looked quite creepy.
John whined that this was not fair – last year he got bucked by a horse on stage, this year he got chucked out of bed and punched a hole in the wall. He covered Ian with some adjectives so Ian said: “I did not come here to get insulted.” As always, Janette had the last word with “Where do you normally go?” LOL
Ian went back to his own bed but somehow the door was not working. So he just walked around at the front where the wall ended.
When Dick and Jimmy wanted to ask how late it was for the third time suddenly the trumpet was gone. They searched everywhere for it in the bed but couldn’t find it. John was very convincing in saying “Honest to God, the trumpet is gone! How can you lose a trumpet?” and Janette even walked to the front of the stage and asked the audience: “Have you seen my trumpet?!?” She also wanted to borrow the one from the guy in the orchestra but John yelled: “You can’t borrow his, because then yours will not make any sound!”
Well, he had a point there.
So they just wanted to make it up as they were going along. There was no noise at all, yet Ian sat up in bed and said: “Oi! Who is not blowing that trumpet at 3 o’clock in the morning!”
Yes, it’s an old joke but really, you had to be there. The whole bed scene had us all in stitches and my belly was seriously hurting from laughing. And once or twice in the four shows I saw, John announced to everyone: “I just peed myself.” If you ever are in need of cheering up, just go and watch the Barrowman, either live or on TV. I dare you to not feel better afterwards.
Janette was still searching for the trumpet in their bed but what did she find actually? “The Pressure Pad!” (for those who don’t get the joke, it’s the new quiz show John has done recently on British TV)
Again they tried to find some sleep, John wished the audience a good night and Janette of course said: “Good night, John-boy!” but this time the ghost came from the left side. So consequently they ran all to Ian’s room.
Remember the door had been “stuck”? Yeah, that was a loud “Bang”, when John hit it (actually with both his hands, but he then held his forehead with both hands and fell backwards down onto the bed where he was rolling around in very convincing “pain”. The audience laughed, of course ;) I can totally see why they would have thought the bucking of the horse was part of the show as well.
Again they tried to fit three people into one bed, this time Ian fell out on the right side and one time John had to catch Janette, otherwise she would have tumbled right after him.
Finally they decided they need to sing a song to keep the ghosties and ghoulies away.
“Scoobydoo bydoo what shall we do to keep the ghosts away...” It was quite a sight in their nightwear. I have never watched “Scooby Doo” but apparently the melody was this theme song.
With each verse, a ghost came and first John vanished from stage, then Ian, then Janette was left on her own singing.
The next scene had Dick and Tomtom walking in front of the curtain, away from Glasgow. It looked so cute – Dick had his big bundle, and the cat also had a small bundle! Dick mused that this would not have happened if Tomtom had woken him up in time. The cat was not amused and walked away. Dick looked after him and said: “I have just been served the paw!”
But then he remembered how we all had shouted in the beginning. And he made us shout “Turn again Tomtom, bravest cat of Glasgow!”
Which we did of course, but he always complained about something. Either we weren’t loud enough, or the rhythm was totally off. One night actually he said we had the best rhythm of the whole pantomime! Well, it is difficult, some go faster, some go slower, so usually he called it “rubbish”. And he said that he had heard many kids voices but surely they didn’t drive here all by themselves! And he wanted the mothers and fathers and grandparents to join in as well.
We also had a bit of fun when he counted “One – two – three!” because usually he left such big spaces after the numbers that some kids yelled the next one and he got quite desperate LOL
At the third time, John said he wants us to shout so loud that we’ll blow up the roof... Metaphorically! And that we should look for the word in the dictionary on the way home.
He also wanted us to shout so loud that they could hear us all the way to Edinburgh... a loud “Boooo” from the audience was the answer there. I guess Glasgow and Edinburgh love each other as much as Cologne and Dusseldorf – or maybe Dresden and Berlin ;)
“That's right, they don't listen to us anyway, so we might as well be loud!”
In the end, we brought Tomtom back, and again Dick and his cat lay down on the ground to get some sleep. What’s with the sleeping all the time? Aurora appeared and told Dick that he shall dream, because in your dreams you can achieve everything. When she vanished again, somehow Tomtom vanished with her, so it was only John left on the stage.
Now came the famous last song at the end of act 1, the song I had heard so much about already. It was “This is the moment” from the musical “Jekyll and Hyde”.
First John kneeled, then he slowly stood up, while starting low and then gradually getting louder and higher with several key changes. He put everything he had into it and I think I am not the only one wishing that this will become a song on his next album. The way he sang it he probably wouldn’t have needed a microphone at all, he easily could have reached the last row with just his own voice. I was sitting there, totally mesmerized, looking at him and listening to him. I doubt anyone in the audience was breathing at all.
Later the curtain opened and there were huge stairs and lots of dancers in fanciful black-and-white costumes. He walked to the back of the stage and they helped him into a coat and when he walked to the front of the stage again you could see that it actually had a huge train. And I mean HUGE. All the dancers had to help holding it and it was covering the complete stage, while John did one of his famous loooooooooong notes at the end of the song.
This is the image with which they left us into the break. If you don't know this song, it will be on John's new CD, here you can listen a bit of him singing, and that is also the page where you pedge for the CD to be made! Help John making it! http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/johnbarrowman/updates/32934
This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!
I have made - ever -
Is coming into play,
Is here and now - today!
This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!
Give me this moment -
This precious chance -
I'll gather up my past
And make some sense at last!
This is the moment,
When all I've done -
All the dreaming,
Scheming and screaming,
This is the day -
See it sparkle and shine,
When all I've lived for
For all these years,
I've faced the world alone,
And now the time has come
To prove to them
I've made it on my own!
This is the moment -
My final test -
I never reckoned,
I won't look down,
I must not fall!
This is the moment,
The sweetest moment of them all!
This is the moment!
Damn all the odds!
This day, or never,
I'll sit forever
With the gods!
When I look back,
I will always recall,
Moment for moment,
This was the moment,
The greatest moment
Of them all!
Read part 2/2 here