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The school had always done a traditional English pantomime for students, staff and host families with their children. The first one we produced was December 1972, the first time Peter & Karen's names appeared on a script in print - "Aladdin" by Peter Viney, Karen Perrett and Nick Keeping. Eventually we were doing three nights of a pantomime (at 350 people a night), and had a cast of 25, with full music, chorus songs and dance routines. A characteristic of the pantomimes is that Peter produced, but did not appear (due to the size of the production, there was no space for the producer to act). Karen directed and played the "principal boy" when there was one (a traditional female's role dressing up as a man), Guy was the sympathetic character, the principal boy's best friend, Nick played the pantomime dame (a traditional male part dressing up as a woman), and eventually Alan made the villain his own. Once Alan was involved in writing with us, music and song selection became very important. I still remember the huge opening scene of "Robin Hood" to "Who Will Buy?". Alan was always the musical director. Alan also added more jokes, from a vast memory store of joke lines.
Our pantomimes include:
"Frankenstein"- - Peter Viney, Karen Perrett, Alan Tankard
Guy as Dr
Frankenstein, Karen as Elizabeth his fiancée,
Alan Tankard as Ygor, Chris Owen as the
Burgomaster, Peter as the monster (breaking a rule -
but Karen did most of the producing on this one too).Chris
Owen later produced this pantomime in the United Arab
Emirates with a full RAF band backing. We have it on video.
The monster was a difficult role - for the first fifteen
minutes you had to lie motionless on a table covered in
white cloth. But you got a rest after the backstage frenzy
of the preceding half an hour! Because of lighting, our only
photos are from the dress rehearsal. Note that Peter doesn't
have hand make-up and is wearing glasses.
Peter & Guy, dress rehearsal shot
We also used to perform "Cinderella" as a "mid-summer pantomime" with a greatly reduced cast, which saw Alan as the hero and Karen actually playing a woman.
Peter & Leo Jones - the ugly sisters, Nick Keeping (then Chris Owen) as the dame, Karen as Cinderella, Guy as Buttons, Alan as The Prince, Patrick as Dandini. This was more like our normal shows, semi-improvised rather than written.
The pantomimes continued into the 1980s at BEET Language Centre, where Guy was DOS, and continue there to this day. In the early 80s Peter used to appear as the dame - all the BEET staff except Alan Tankard had beards, and Alan was always the "baddie".
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