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Lichfield here I come

Panto Fans!!

 

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write anything!

 

Where do I start.. I’ll start with news, and work back me thinks!

 

This Christmas I am delighted to be bringing my dame home, and to my local theatre -  The Lichfield Garrick, it’s such an honour and a delight to be asked to play so close to home. The other amazing thing is that I am bringing the show I did in my other pantomime home - Yeovil - last year! Sleeping Beauty by Evolution is one of the best scripts I have ever worked with, and it’s going to leave the people of Lichfield and beyond amazed, with a set piece in act 2 to get EVERYONE excited and laughing, it will be one of the biggest things Lichfield has ever seen! So I look forward to seeing as many friends as possible at the show this Christmas!

 

This Easter, a first for me, I did Easter Panto - Beauty and the Beast, with Sir Keith of the Chegwin, Anne Hegerty from The Chase, and British Legend - Basil Brush! The tour went all over the shop, from north to south and most places in between! It was a right laugh, and a real treat to take my Dame places I wouldn’t usually go! Keith was a dream to work with, and I can now see why Bradley Walsh has such a laugh on The Chase, making Anne giggle on stage was just a joy! And when you get to act along side a National Treasure like Basil Brush, what more can you ask for!

 

Last Christmas saw my third outing for panto in Yeovil, I will be sad to say goodbye to my Christmas home as I had such a good time down in Cider country! The Octagon is one of THE nicest theatres I’ve had the pleasure to work at, and that’s down to the staff lead by the lovely Adam! So a massive thank you to him and the team for putting up with me for the past few Christmas’s! I hope to be back there soon!

 

For now, I am busy planning the rest of my year, seeing where my dame can spring up next, or what I can do different with the rest of the year! After 2 years touring Scooby Doo, it’s nice to have a rest, but I’m also at a loose end!

 

I’ll try and blog a bit more often now I’m back into it! Speak soon fans!

 

 

Sam x

 

A Blog to Come

So sorry Panto Fans... I've neglected you and the blog! Rest assured one will be on it's way later, updating everything!

 

WHICH MAY TAKE A WHILE... so i suggest getting a cuppa!

Guest Blog

Unusually about a week a go I was contacted and asked if I ever did guest Blogs, I haven't until now... but I don't see the harm in putting one up if it's something I agree with... so if you like my guest blogger wish to feature on my blog please email me This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and you too could be a guest blogger...

 

So here it is.. The Guest Blog!

 

Performance Matters – More than just a bit of sex

When you hear the word burlesque you think of corsets and lingerie, stripping and all those naughty things, and you would be right. However there is more than meets the eye with this cheeky form of entertainment. Yes, it’s a bit sexy and there is a copious amount of stripping but it is an up and coming form of entertainment.

Burlesque has been around since the 17th century and was started as a comical outlet for working class women. It was based around mocking the upper classes and for this reason (and the naked women!) was extremely popular with working class men.  Its popularity boomed in the 1940s and, as it grew, more and more women attended burlesque shows.

This tongue in cheek act is still popular today and is a constant reprieve for women who want to explore their femininity and sexuality in a safe environment.  Classes are available for women who want to learn how to perfect the art form and most towns and cities have venues for amateur enthusiasts.

Some people would suggest that burlesque is nothing more than a strip show; this couldn’t be further from the truth. Burlesque still leans heavily on the strip side of the act but it also involves music, acting and humour. The acts can be as complex or simply as any other play and usually always require props. Over the years women like Gypsie Rose Lee, Betty page and our modern day beauty Dita Von Teese have changed the way people see burlesque.

Dita von Teese has been called “the queen of burlesque” and has fostered the revival of the performance after a relative period of quiet.  Her shows include giant cocktail glasses, bath tubs, feathers and stripping.  Compared to its initial start the art form is now more widely accepted and even common place among theatres.

The burlesque look appears in our everyday fashion as well as on stage. Betty Page’s classic bangs can be seen on the faces of women across the UK and red lipstick is common place in high-street stores. Modern film has boosted its popularity even more, with Moulin rouge and Burlesque staring Christina Aguilera having inspired women everywhere to put on their best pants and get their burlesque on.

Burlesque has opened doors for women since the 17th century. It’s empowering and versatile; it gives a freedom of expression that can’t be found in other forms of entertainment. No other art form uses sex and comedy in such a way that is empowering and fun all at the same time. If you haven’t been to see a burlesque show before then you are missing out. So book some tickets to your nearest show, pop on the Moulin Rouge sound track, grab a glass of wine and get yourself ready for an experience you won’t forget!

 

Author Bio: Leslie Harding, Burlesque fan on behalf of Asos.com


A Burlesque Blog

 

A Burlesque Blog

 

 

As some of you will know I love a night of cabaret and even more so a night of Burlesque Cabaret.

 

I have a few nights I like to get to, Wam Bam down in London hosted by Lady Alex with help from Bunny Galore, but while up in the Midlands I love to visit Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Lichfield's premier Burlesque night and for good reason!

 

The producers of KKBB have got the venue right, the atmosphere right and more importantly it runs like a well oiled machine, with no awkward pauses seamlessly going from one act to the next, but with enough chance to get a drink!

 

This Saturday saw KKBB host their “Chariots of Fire” night, each of their nights has a theme and the audience are encouraged to dress up. Their previous themes have included things like, “From Russia with Love”, “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”, “Come Fly with me” and “Love will tear us apart”.

 

For some reason I thought “Chariots of Fire” was a Roman based film, I think I was getting mixed up with Ben Hûr, luckily I realised at the last second and changed my outfit from roman to Russian Lady Gymnast... on steroids.

 

They had a great line up for us this time :-

 

Hosted by Stage Door Johnny, who keeps the night flowing wonderfully.

Sherry Trifle (KKBB resident)

Fanny Devine

Scarlett Daggers

Johnny and the Speedos giving us love music

 

And off of the TV Mrs Barbara Nice.

 

Cueing up outside the doors is always fun as you get to have a spy round to see what other people have come dressed as, there was a selection of athletes, from runners, to tennis players to touch carriers to Judo fighters! It’s a great atmosphere and lovely to see so many people dressing up... although not as many as usual, I think the heat may have put people off.  It’s always a good time to catch up with old friends who we only ever tend to see at KKBB.

 

And then the night starts - A whole night of Burlesque Cabaret, for £15

 

Stage Door Johnny opens the show with what I think now will be a trade mark video, and then straight into the Burlesque 3 acts in the first 1/3rd all 3 girls doing a great show with their acts which work so well.

 

And then a short break before Stage Door introduces Mrs Barbara Nice. Now normally at KKBB we don’t see any comedy, just burlesque so this makes a nice change.  I had seen Mrs Nice before, most people in the room hadn’t so I kind of knew what to expect and she didn’t disappoint! Having the room laughing with her northern house wife humor, her charity shop trips, and thanks to dead people who are just her size! We had a nice moment though where we paid tribute to some of the artists who had died recently, most recently Donna Summer, and what a better way to pay tribute to such a great artist than with a game of I feel Love Musical Statues. I should of won, but Stage Door decided I was out!! RUDE!! We also had a group dance and some surreal noises, Well done Mrs Nice. While chatting to her during the second interval she told me she will be at the Edinburgh  Fringe Festival at the Assembly Rooms at 4pm so if you have never seen her and you are up at the Fringe it’s worth going to have a watch!

 

After the break we were back to the Burlesque. We saw Fanny Divine do a lovely Victorian style act as a bearded lady, great music and a good act which had my foot tapping and everyone cheering for more. Scarlett Daggers then came on dressed as a present which we got to see get unwrapped.

 

And then finishing the show Sherry Trifle with her brand new act. Dressed as the Statue of Liberty we get to see it come to life and then take it’s clothes of and reveal a hidden lust to be a cheer leader. Considering it was the first time she had performed this act in front of an audience it was incredible! Well though out, with good music and a stunning costume!! Well done Sherry!

 

We got to finish the night off with live Rockabilly and 50’s rock’n’roll from Johnny and the Speedos who I want to have play at my birthday party when I next decide to have one!! Everyone was up and dancing, Great set, great music and a great way to finish of a fantastic night!

Picture - Stage Door Johnny, Scarlett Daggers, Fanny Divine, Mrs Barbara Nice and Sherry Trifle

 

If you have never been to a Burlesque night before and want a full night of entertainment and guaranteed laughs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the place to go. It is hosted at the George Hotel in Lichfield and for £15 you will come out with a smile on your face. I urge people to go and keep supporting live entertainment! Well done KKBB and the team!! The next event will be in October!

 

Speak soon lovely readers and stay tuned for panto news which will be coming VERY soon!!

 

Sam x

 

There is no one like our Dave

 

Well I thought I would write a small blog about my experience this past Sunday.

 

I was asked back in February by Paul Hendy (Evolution Pantomimes) if I would want to take part in a memorial concert for the late great Mr Dave Lee, he was planning to get some of the countries dames together to do a song and dance in tribute to one of our favorite fat bloke in a dress.  And How could I say no.

 

At this point I don't think I realised how big this was going to be.  But as things went on I realised it wasn't going to be just a small concert. I had an email telling me I would be sharing the stage with some of my favorite dames, as well as comedians and singers from across the country, all willing to give up their time to show their respects and raise money for Dave Lee and his charity! People like Joe Pasquale, Bradley Walsh and Jim Davidson would be on stage with me.

 

On Saturday Night I had been DJ’ing up in Southport for a very good friends wedding, it was a beautiful day and a great evening (the music helped ;) ) But after finishing my gig in Southport I had to get home to Birmingham, I managed to get 3 hours sleep before I had to leave first thing Sunday morning.

 

So Sunday morning came and my car was packed with all the essentials to turn me into Widow Twankey, Boobs, Body Stocking, more tights that is strictly necessary, makeup, costume and wig - and probably some other stuff too. And off I go down to Canterbury, after only 3 hours sleep and a bowl of cereal to keep me going!

 

I arrived down in Canterbury at the Marlowe theatre looking forward to meeting the other dames, this is highly unusual, as usually we are lucky if we manage to see each other over the panto run at all, so to have 10 dames in a room, doing the same thing in costume, is not really heard of. Us Dames are lone operators and not used to working with other “Fat blokes in dresses” - So who was there? The Ten (as I will no refer to us as- á la Lord of the Rings) were - Myself, Damian Williams (Sheffield's favorite dame) Michael Batchelor + Ian Smith the Glam Sisters, Martin Ramsdin (one half on the Qdos Ugly Sisters) Antony Stuart-Hicks, Nick Wilton, Ben Roddy and Brad Fitt and a choreographer Paul Tracy dressed up too.


 

 

(An action shot left to right Antony Stuart-Hicks, Paul Tracy, Brad Fitt, Damian Williams, Michael Batchelor, Nick Wilton and Sam Rabone)

 

So once we all arrived and dropped costumes and wigs off etc into our dressing room, we headed up to the rehearsal space, and then had a catch up, bare in mind this was probably the first time all 10 of would have been in the same room together, so once we started we really had to pull ourselves together to start rehearsing the song and dance we were doing.  Paul Hendy had changed the words of “There is nothing like a Dame” to “Theres nothing like our Dave!”  So after a bit more chat we got things going, with a lot of laughs thrown in between box steps and shadow steps!

 

So after 4 hours of rehearsing and laughing, and wishing the whole thing was being filmed for a documentary, as it would have made brilliant telly; the ten of us headed over the road to one of the local pubs for a lovely Sunday Roast, (As Fat Blokes in dresses - lunch is important) It was good to have a chat and a catch up over food without sweating over a shadow/box step or switch turn!

 

Then back to the theatre for our tech run, which seemed to go ok, after the third run! After our tech run it was time to get ready, it was strange for us really, normally in the theatre you get a half hour call before curtain up, as a Dame I would have started getting ready at this point but as we weren’t on until the second half we didn't really need to start getting ready for a while, but that felt wrong and all ten of us were slightly on edge as we could hear the show happening but we weren’t doing anything.



(2 Action shots from the evening Roughly in order Antony Stuart-Hicks Paul Tracy, Brad Fitt, Ian Smith, Damian Williams, Michael Batchelor, Nick Wilton Sam Rabone, Ben Roddy and Martin Ramsdin)

 

So then we get ready, and run through the routine once more, and then we get called! We have Jim Davidson, Bradley Walsh and Shaun Williamson standing in the wing egging us on! And Paul Hendy then introduces us, and there is no turning back! So on we go and everything seems to happen in such a whirl, but we do it! We finish it and thankfully there is clapping!

 

So there you go, 10 dames on one stage, unless the Royal Variety ring I’m not sure it will happen again for a very long time.  Paul Hendy made it possible, we thank him for that, it was such a unique and a wonderful experience and a pleasure to be a part of! But the most important thing to remember is what we all did it for, and that was to remember the great “Fat man in a Dress” the one and only Mr Dave Lee, who no doubt if he had seen us in the wings would have been laughing his head off at us!! God Bless you Mr Lee, and hopefully your charity Dave’s Happy Holiday will have got the money it deserves from the night!



(The Beverly Sisters, Two Twankeys and a Sister, ASH, Martin Ramsdin and Sam Rabone)

 

 

To my fellow Dames I thank you for making it such a wonderful and memorable day! - It was strange as for 3 years we had all been speaking on twitter and Facebook, but never once had there been a meeting like it!

 

It was a pleasure to be a part of the night! And I hope Dave’s Happy Holidays continues to do what it has done so well for years!!



 

Cheers everyone!! And a Special Thanks to Paul Hendy for arranging it all!!

 

Sam xx

 

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