Antje (dieastra) wrote,

Part 2 of Detailed report of panto "Dick McWhittington" with John Barrowman in Glasgow January 2014

Here comes finally the second part. Sorry it took so long. As with the first part, which you can find here, this report is a joint effort. I wrote down everything I remember but I also had help from a friend with explaining some jokes I didn't get and adding in little bits I missed. Many thanks, Audrey!

The blue song titles are all links, so you can at least listen to the original version of the songs, to get an idea which music was used. And, something I forgot at the first part - you need to imagine everything John says in a broad Glaswegian accent! Whenever he is at home (or talks to other Scots or his family), his Scottish comes out. After a while listening to this, you can't imagine him ever talking American again!

And now enjoy.


The second part of the show opened with the same song the first half had finished – “This is the moment”. Well, only some notes of the chorus, and the background singing actually. The scenery had changed to the deck of a ship, and the dancers were dressed as sailors, scrubbing the decks, throwing buckets and brooms from one to the next while dancing around. The Krankies and Ailsa wore maritime clothes as well.

Then it changed to the song “Come so far” from the musical “Hairspray”

After the song was another solo-Krankie-bit with a few double-meaning jokes about “cruising”. Ian said he is not doing it as much anymore as he once did ;) Have you ever heard of SAGA cruises? It means “Sex and Games for the ancient”. At least according to Jimmy ;) Or did she say “aged”? Not sure on that.

But of course when you are on a ship, you need to be aware that there could be pirates. And you need to be able to do a bit of “krrrt and while Father Krankie said this, he demonstrated the art of throat-slitting. Jimmy replied that he never did any “krrrt” but has in fact done a lot of “pffffft” (and in case you need to know, it was the sound that comes out of the backwards regions of the body).

Father Krankie wanted Jimmy to clean the decks so you can eat from them. Jimmy asked: “Why, don’t you have plates?”

They weren’t done with the business jokes yet, again the phone ringed (much to father Krankie’s astonishment, that Jimmy was getting a reception out here at the sea)

“I have a new business - selling yachts.”

“How’s business?”

“Sales/sails are up."

Then Janette sang a special song called “Addicted ta ma phone”. I’m honest, I didn’t understand a word LOL Well, apart from words like “Facebook” or “Tweet”. You can check out the song on the official Krankies channel on youtube though, there is even a video from the stage:

Everyone came back on stage, and Aurora also appeared, and she told them that Dick was innocent. Ailsa started to regret having him sent away, but what could they do about it now, in the middle of the sea? Whilst this dialogue happened at the front of the stage, interesting things went on at the back of the stage. All the male dancers had made a circle and in the middle of this circle two people stood, dressed in yellow hooded raincoats. You couldn’t see their faces at all, but I think if we had taken bets everyone in the audience would have won.

Slowly all of them came forward and then it was a (not so) huge reveal, when Dick and TomTom slipped out of those coats. They had made it on board as well and everyone was happy.

Dick got made Captain of the ship immediately and to celebrate this, he sang a song. Till this day I can’t get the melody out of my head, I think it is my favourite song from the whole pantomime. It’s called "Color my world" by Petula Clark, yes, exactly, the one that sang “Downtown”. The song (which I also never had heard before but that really does not mean anything as I rarely know any songs) describes John quite perfectly if you take a closer look at the lyrics:

You'll never see a dark cloud hanging 'round me
Now there is only blue sky to surround me
There's never been a gray day since you found me
Everything I touch is turned to gold

I really wonder how he always manages to find such fitting songs!

So you can color my world with sunshine yellow each day
Oh you can color my world with happiness all the way
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above
And if you color my world, just paint it with your love
Just color my world

After this, the dancers continued with the first voice, but John did not sing the second verse in the same way like the first, he did like a second voice, and while he did it, he was moving from the right side of the stage to the left with little steps and a turn in the middle at the word rainbow.

Just as long as you are thinking of me
There will always be a rainbow above me
Since I found the one who really loves me
Everything I touch is turned to gold

Then he again gave the dancers some space and went to the back, so they had their proper place in the spotlight. But the way he did it was always a bit different – sometimes he just danced around at the back with the music, one time he even sat down on a bucket and crossed his legs, and when he had some more energy left there was also a little jump when he joined the dancers again for the last bit of the song. It is really interesting to see all those differences in between performances.

Jimmy wanted to help the relationship of Dick and Ailsa along and told us about her sweet tooth. He then got a table from the right side with a lot of chocolate bars on it. And him, Dick and father Krankie strung some sentences together, using the brand names and giving them some totally different meanings.

It started simply with Dick and Ailsa having a “Picnic” which would be very romantic. Dick would give her “Roses” and then they would stay on deck till “After Eight”, looking up at the “Galaxy” and trying to see “Mars” and the “Milky Way”.

Dick also wanted her to “Nestlé” beside him and “Wispa” into her ear. There were lots more, including making “Jelly Babies” and getting “Kinder surprise”. Let’s not get into the double meaning of “Curly Wurly” here. Heh!

The last chocolate bar was “Applause” and they got exactly that from us after this tour the force!

Of course, the happiness couldn’t last long, as King Rat also had made it on board. Somehow he managed to join forces with a sea monster – a huge octopus was rising at the back of the stage, and everyone got entangled in his arms.

Well, not exactly everyone because if you looked very closely, Dick and Jimmy had disappeared.

The ship sunk with a lot of noise and flickering lights, and when you dared to look again we suddenly were in the sea. A curtain had been raised on stage, making it looking like water, with fish in it (hi Nemo!), and right up there, far high, John and Janette were hanging on wires (one wire on each side of the hip), pretending to swim. Only one time John could not find his balance at all, and tumbled around quite a lot.

I was so mesmerized and amazed by that sight I did not pay much attention to the dialogue. There were some lines about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond and that they’re both crabs. Another one of those jokes I didn’t get but apparently those are politicians that are in favour of Scotland’s independence. But let’s not get into politics here.

Some jokes that were easier to understand were Dick saying: “I’m sinking, my clothes are pulling me down - I told you I should have worn my speedos!”

And Jimmy also had a good idea: “We could pretend to be in a movie – ‘Titanic’” – “You could be my Leonardo DiCappuccino.”

“And you could be my Kate Winceyette”. Which apparently is something old fashioned nighties used to be made of.

At the end of this scene, they always looked at each other and Dick said: “Okay, one more time!” They put their arms up in the air and then did a 360° rotation, going backwards and then “swimming” away while holding hands.

Did I mention that Janette is 66 years old? Probably not often enough. Amazing, simply amazing (she had done the same turning last year while hanging at the beanstalk as well).

They needed another break to change the stage again so Aurora and King Rat had another one of their banters. At the last matinee, it changed into a poetry battle, with them going back- and forward and really getting agitated!

She told him smugly that the others were all still alive and that their plan had worked, getting the rats out of Glasgow and that he never would be going back.

“Oh yes I am!” says King Rat.

“Oh no you’re not!” yells the audience. Repeat and rinse LOL

The third time he actually sang it with a lovely opera voice. It sounded a bit like the Big Ben Gong. The technicians even gave some reverberation to his microphone.

The audience dutifully repeated this also ;)

Once the stage was empty again, Ailsa arrived, walking through the audience. Her dress was not looking as nice anymore, it hang in shreds after the ordeal of the sea. She asked the audience if we had seen any of the others but we had to tell her no.

She knelt on stage and sang a ballad – “The voice within” by Christina Aguilera:

The audience sitting at the right side suddenly were face to face with an ice-cream seller that had come through one of the emergency exits. He had a vendor’s tray at his belly and spoke with Italian accent.

He spotted Ailsa at the stage and joined her, while inviting her to try some of his ice-cream. He wanted to give her “Ben and Jerry’s” but she didn’t want Ben’s or Jerry’s, she wanted her own! She asked if he was doing Sundaes but he said business hours are only Mondays till Saturdays.

We tried to warn her because we had seen what she hadn’t: This ice-cream seller had a very familiar rat tail! But she did not listen and when she wanted to grab the ice-cream she actually got her hands trapped in a giant mousetrap. King Rat revealed his face and then led her away while we booed.

Jimmy, father Krankie and Dick arrived on shore as well, also looking rather worse for wear. Somehow Jimmy still found time to tell a joke though. It went like this:

Wonder Woman is lying on the beach sleeping, with her eyes closed, completely naked, no socks, nothing. Batman spots her from the top of the cliff, so he flies over and covers with his cape, to keep her modesty. Dick said, “That must have given her a fright!” and Jimmy replied, “Not as much as it did to the Invisible Man…”

One night, Janette had a slip of the tongue and her Batman was not jumping down from a cliff but from a shelf actually. John immediately picked up on this and asked if it was a toy Batman ;) I found that hilarious. He’s really quick sometimes!

Aurora appeared and told them about the Sultan’s palace which was near. After she disappeared again, TomTom joined the others. He had an idea he wanted to tell them about. So he made a pantomime in the pantomime. It looked rather cute, the way he waved his paws. Dick understood that he had made a tunnel he wanted to lead them through but there was something at the end he didn’t get and he asked him to repeat it.

So TomTom did.

And again Dick did not understand (or rather John pretended to not understand ;) ) and said: “Once more, with more effort!” I loved the face TomTom pulled after that but he had not much choice and had to do it again as long as John wanted to. If I remember right it was even a few more times in the last matinee ;)

Jimmy was skeptical how TomTom would be able to lead us there and Dick made the low pun of him having a built in satnav *groan* Apparently, John had waited all evening to finally get that out LOL

That was the time when we needed to put on our 3-D-glasses. The actors all sat down on the stage with their backs to us while looking at the tunnel which to us Whovians actually looked more like a Time Vortex. Lots of scary things came flying out of it towards us, and the actors repeatedly sat up or fell down backwards. Their abs must be looking good after all those crunches!

Like last year, at the last matinee they all left and left the poor Aurora dealing all alone with this. While I write this I wonder how she actually got involved, since usually u she wasn’t on stage anymore for that scene? The beta just solved this puzzle: “John kept holding her arm after the last scene she was in, so she couldn’t leave the stage, that’s how he kept her :P“
In general, the 3-D part was much shorter this time. Which I liked, as I thought the two parts last year were a bit too long and dragging. What I liked better back then though was the interaction. An actor at the stage would “move” the giant pepper mill for example on the screen, and it really would tumble down. This year there was no interaction at all, just the usual “throw things at the audience”. It still made us scream loudly though!

To show that we were in Morocco now, the dancers had dressed in very sexy oriental clothes and there was like a parade in front of the curtain, from the left side of the stage to the right. Some showed off their artistic skills, doing flick-flacks and at the very end one girl was riding on an elephant. Not a real one of course, but a panto one. It looked quite real though! I guess this was a leftover from "Aladdin" maybe, I remember John riding at an elephant back then?

Then the curtain opened and we were in the throne room of Sultan Vinegar. According to the beta, this rather strange name is a play on words with the flavour “Salt and Vinegar”, a favourite crisps’ flavor. Something that went totally over my head. Thank you, Beta! That was quite a surprise, to introduce another character so late into the play, but he became immediately a favourite of the audience! Partly because of his really nice and rich baritone, with which he was singing "I'm glad you came" from The Wanted, but mostly surely for the muscles and abs he showed off ;) There was a part of the song where he would let his pecks dance and wiggled every part of his body LOL He got quite a loud applause at the end of the song and quite rightly if you ask me.

He was back on his throne when Dick and the others were brought in as prisoners. In the following dialogue Sultan Vinegar introduced his wives. Father Krankie was shocked. “All of them? That’s bigamy!”

Sultan Vinegar agreed: “Yeah, that’s very big o’me!” LOL

The prisoners had hoped to find food, shelter and help here but the Sultan only wanted their heads off, and soon. This did not exactly match with the "I'm glad you came" song ;)

Dick/John tried to change his mind with the words "Oh Sultan Vinegar, I appeal to you!"

To which the Sultan replied: "I can assure you, you don't!"

But John had the last word in this exchange, half turning to the audience, and cheekily saying under his breath: "Can't win them all!"

So yeah, it was off with their heads, all three of them. Wait, there was Dick, father Krankie, TomTom and... where exactly was Jimmy?

Cue Janette coming in riding at a camel (also not a real one, after the accident with the horse last year they said no real animals on stage anymore. And hey, nothing against the actors that play those animals, I heard Charlie Chaplin started his career as the back end of a panto horse!)

Janette was not Jimmy anymore, she was Madonna now. Dressed in that particular costume with those spiky boobs. I'm sure you know which one I mean. Well, if I say she was Madonna, she was only a mini Madonna of course. After one of the boys had helped her down from the camel, she sang the song "Material girl", only the words got changed to "I'm a miniature girl" and what the boys would do to her and her body parts. It was quite a hilarious sight. Imagine a 66 year old woman, looking like a little boy, wiggling her hips and bum like John Barrowman. Hilarious.

John and Ian were standing at the back of the stage, swinging with the music, and clearly having fun. And just when my friend said that they must have quite a good view of Janette's behind, she turned and presented her wiggling bum to the audience. I probably shouldn't bring up her age all the time, but all things considered, she is still in fine shape!

Much cheering and applause after that one, but it still did not change Sultan Vinegar's opinion about the heads. But just when he wanted to give the order, he suddenly saw something. Some movement, over there. What was it? And big scary Sultan Vinegar climbed his throne and shrieked like a girl because of a mouse he had seen.

Dick sensed his chance, stepped forward and said that these were not mice, these were rats! And sure enough, the stage again was full of them and another fight broke out. This time, John did the Butterfly wings with one of them! You know the move, he already did it on “Dancing on Ice”, as well as when he won the “Strictly Come Dancing” at Christmas. Where two people hold onto each other and swing both their legs up into the air while turning around. It’s always a lovely sight and looks very elegant.

King Rat followed suit and did another one of the “I’ll rule the world” speeches. Unbeknownst to him, John had disappeared from the stage a few minutes earlier while the fight was still going on, and now reappeared like Tarzan, flying in on a liana, I mean, rope, to the music of Indiana Jones. Yes, that’s our hero! He grabbed a sword from one of Sultan Vinegar’s men.

King Rat groaned: “Oh no it’s McWindyBum!” Pete hat quite a few funny names for Dick throughout the show, others were “McWimbledon” or “McWigglebum”. Dick had his revenge in calling him “King Ratatouille” one time.

And then we got a really nice old fashioned sword fight. At one point it looked as if Dick was losing, but of course in the end he won and stood there, with his sword on King Rat’s throat. He was just about to slice it when Aurora intervened. We were at a family pantomime after all, can’t have deaths in that one!

So Dick asked the girls and boys in the audience what he shall do with his enemy. The answer was always the same: “Kill him!” Dick added the usual “Welcome to Glasgow, King Rat”

But then TomTom had an idea: He would scrub him clean and wash his fur and cut the nails and this was an even bigger punishment for King Rat than death. He wailed “No, don’t scrub me clean!” but to no avail. Dick also added that in the end, he would look as fluffy and cute that people might mistake him for a hamster!

At least Sultan Vinegar was grateful and did not want their heads off anymore after this. He said to Dick the famous lines: “You have saved our kingdom. How can I reward you?” The way he stood there in all of his glory and John looked him up and down it was pretty clear what he was thinking – at least to anyone above the age of 10 ;)

John turned to the audience and tried for innocent: “I have no idea why you all are laughing?” LOL

He settled for a lifetime supply of Whiskas for TomTom then. The Sultan still wanted to give him something as well. Another two half naked gorgeous men came in and at first Dick thought THEY were his reward LOL But it was in fact the treasure chest they were carrying, with lots of gold and such.

Dick did accept it, but not for himself. He wanted to give it to the city of Glasgow instead.

Finally, only one thing was left. Dick wanted to propose to Ailsa. He had stated his love for her right at the beginning of the play, it was about time. So he said that he wanted her hand in marriage. Father Krankie was a bit confused by this. “Why only her hand? Why not take all of her?” ;)

Only, there was a problem. Ailsa stood at the right side. Dick knelt on the left side. In the middle stood Sultan Vinegar, strong and beautiful. Dick could not prevent his eyes wandering over to his left side, looking him up and down appraisingly. But then he looked again to Ailsa, who was waiting expectantly. Back to Sultan Vinegar. Finally, he knew no other way out of this situation than putting his hand to the left side of his face, shielding his eyes from the view. And then he added his right hand as well for good measure.

At the last matinee, John milked this last scene a bit more and started to peek through his hands a few times. Sultan Vinegar still stood strong and unmoved and with a serious expression. "I am getting a smile out of you yet", John said.

But finally he proposed to Ailsa and Ailsa asked the girls and boys in the audience if she should marry him? And of course we all yelled "Yeah!" Who knows, maybe when they do the play again one day, Dick might end up with Sultan Vinegar. It's the 21st century where everything changes.

We were almost at the end now, they needed time go to change into their nice wedding clothes and change the stage again, and of course no panto would be perfect without THAT Krankie number. So they came to the stage, this time dressed in their usual clothes, and we got some of their classic banter which has been successful for decades now. I know not everyone likes their kind of humor, but in Glasgow they are well loved and famous for it. Some of the jokes changed from show to show, so you'll forgive me if I don't remember them all.

What I remember is the bit about Janette being so small that she is the only one having a full-length picture on her passport and when Ian told her that people go smaller with age she said he should not scare her, she might disappear!

Also, when she came on stage, her fly was open and she peeked her finger through the hole. Ian said that she should zip up and that you don’t show that to people. Only at parties he is not allowed to go to anymore.

Also: “What did I tell you last night?”

“We couldn’t do it because John Barrowman was next door”.

Or: “You are just one step away from an idiot!” And Janette takes a step away from Ian. Even Ian admitted that this was a very old joke but Janette replied that they were a very old act!

Yeah, those kind of things.

Then Ian wanted to sing a song which he dedicated to all the beautiful ladies in the audience. Janette couldn’t help herself adding: “And all the ugly ones as well – you know where you’re sitting!” LOL

And then of course the classic number where Ian sits on a chair and Janette is like his puppet on his knee, and he jerks her around like madly. Sometimes she was hanging on for dear life. She laughed and asked how many more years he intends to do this. Well, as long as the audience still loves it I guess! They sang a song together where Janet asked a couple of times "What's my name again?" – “Funny Boy”

It started like this:

“Climb up on my knee – Funny Boy
You’re pushing sixty-three” - “I'm 66 but it doesn't rhyme”
(Well, this time it wasn't ME who brought up the age!)
“We’re just a couple of old jocks” – “Who could do with a bit of Botox…”

That was it, after that we only got the huge show staircase, with everyone coming out in even more glittery costumes this time for the big finale. First the dancers, and then everyone else, and everyone got a huge applause. Finally it was the Krankies who must have changed at super speed from their last scene, and then John.

The music was again the “Hair Spray” song, they all took their bows and also pointed down into the orchestra, who also had a large share in making this show a huge success. Finally when everything had settled down a bit John was doing a speech that on the way out we should return our glasses and also should look for the people with the money boxes, and put some of our change into it. This year they were collecting money for Down Syndrome Scotland.

Janette said that she had much fun this year as the cat is the same height as she is!

And the song “Addicted ta ma phone” is available on I-tunes, John announced. “Help the ancient!” (or aged? Whatever, same meaning).

At the very last show on Sunday evening again like last year John got out all the behind-the-scenes people on stage as well, all the stage management and dressers and make-up, as they are just as important as the actors and musicians.

A last round of “Let’s go crazy” and that was it, for another year. It’s already settled that they will be back next year with “Robin Hood”. And it will be a whole year till I hear the lovely Glaswegian accent of John again. I am just mentioning this hear as I probably forgot to tell it in the beginning of this report, and those that never saw a panto might not know: When John is at home in Scotland, or speaking with Scottish people, his Scottish accent comes out, so he did the whole play with a very different voice than what we are used to when he is speaking American.

And after listening to it for a few evenings, I have a hard time imagining him speaking in any other way.

Good-bye Glasgow, till 2015!

Tweeted at 04.03.2014:
Tags: glasgow 2014, john barrowman, panto

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