As Christmas draws nearer I'd like to tell you about my 'thespian days', which
began at The Pillar Club, held in a grand old house in West Derby Village, called Lowlands.
It played host to many talents, including The Beatles and other well known Liverpool Groups of the 'Sixties'.
Local young people gathered there during the week to play table tennis, drink coffee and generally 'hang out', doing things that teenagers do!
From these activities a drama group was formed, which was to become The Basement Players.
Each year a seasonal Pantomine was produced.
This was my first experience of 'treading the boards' and..... 'oh boy', what fun we had!
Along with my best friend Jenny, we were plucked from obscurity and put in the chorus line.
Oooh....... The smell of the grease paint and the roar of the crowd...
*A star was born*......
I was well and truly hooked and just loved strutting my stuff in front of a live audience.
Flushed with our first success, Jenny and I were picked for the next production, playing the leading roles of Principal Boy and Principal Girl.
My role was as Jack in 'Jack And The Beanstalk' and Jenny played a village girl who was the leading lady.
For my friends from overseas, who may not be acquainted with the traditions of British Pantomime, traditionally, some male and female roles are reversed, thus, the roles of Principal Boy is played by a female and the Dame is played by a male.
Strange, I know, but after all.....
It is a British tradition!!!
In the Pantomime 'Jack and the Beanstalk', we had a cow called Daisy, she was made by a costume maker called Elsie, who made all our costumes, she was absolutely brilliant at her work and turned out the most amazing outfits at the turn of a needle.
Daisy the cow was made in two pieces and was manned by two guys called Tom and Dave, Tom as the front legs and head and Dave as the back end.
Now then, Dave was rather too fond of a drink or three, and on the last night of the Panto he called at the local Inn for a drop of refreshment!
After he had donned the rear end part of Daisy's costume, he weaved all over the stage, in a state of inebriation, trying to dance in step with Tom at the front end.
To say he was legless was an understatement!
Eventually he found his feet and managed to dance in time until, at the very end of the routine, he stepped backwards over the footlights and ended up dangling over the drummer, directly below in the auditorium......
The audience went wild with applause and laughter, thinking it was part of the act, as he was unceremoniously hauled back on stage by Tom (the front end), who was absolutely furious with him.
Dave, inspired by the rapturous applause, attempted to repeat the performance, only to be tharwted by Tom, who gave him a sharp kick in the shins, sending him howling to the floor and ending up in a 'heap of Cow' on the hapless drummer below.
Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured and the Panto carried on.
I've heard the Nursery rhyme about the cow jumping over the moon but not jumping over a drummer!
Merry Christmas everyone and all good wishes for a prosperous and peaceful New Year.
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