Thursday, 14 November 2013

A Fairy with Hart

By now you may or may not have gathered that a pantomime is coming to town, but there’s something a flutter in Fleet. Wherever you go, you get the feeling that someone or something has been there before you – it may be the little smattering of extra sparkly dew on the grass at Fleet Pond, it may be the trail of twinkling kisses in the sky as you stagger home from a night in Propaganda, or it may be the distinct impression that you have just seen a Fairy with wings and a wand standing outside Costa Coffee… 

There is no doubt that running a pantomime in a town for the first time takes that little bit of extra effort and magic, and this is what it takes with Dick Whittington.  Readers of this blog will be familiar with most of the characters in the play, and aware that the show’s producer Amanda, is also acting the dual characters of Fairy BowBells (goodie) and Queen Rat (baddie).  This is quite common in panto land – most main characters double or even treble as other parts, and part of the fun is in spotting who is who.  But what is not so usual is that the producer also writes the script (contrary to many enquiries, I had no hand in it!), runs the castings, interviews the crew, sources all the props and merchandise and perhaps most crucially for a first time show, does a lot of the promotions.  A lot of this, of course is down to budget – if this production is successful then the next will have some legacy to build upon – but it takes a passion and a commitment to continue to hammer away at peoples preconceptions and doubts, and this is where the power of Fairy comes in (sorry, couldn’t resist that one…)

And so it is that most of the local schools by now have had a morning assembly in which Fairy BowBells appears as if by magic, waving her wand and singing a special song – weaving her spells around the kids who are just waking up from their bowl of Weetabix.  Naomi House Hospice for children with terminal illnesses welcomed her with open arms as she sprinkled a bit of fairy dust in the air and cuddled the kids.  She’s appeared in the shopping mall and posed with wide eyed little girls who have asked if she is the tooth fairy.  She has flown into restaurants on request, floated in and out of old folks homes with a smile and with a flick of her wand opened a children’s play centre.

But her biggest challenge to date is giving blood.  There has been a shortage locally of blood, and so she too will be joining everyone in Fleet today on the blood gurney. I’m not sure how the blood bank will fare with Fairy Blood, but this could be a new thing – will we be seeing the Elves from Elvetham Heath lining up behind the little crooked Goblins from Church Crookham and the Pixies from Zebon Copse?  If you are in Fleet today, be sure to report back to me as I will be intrigued to find out…

I don’t know how this pantomime will work out.  I do know that it has taken blood (literally), sweat and many tears to get this far.  All I ask is that when you come to see the show, if you believe in fairies, clap your hands resoundingly at the end – because we have one helluva Fairy with Hart.