Over the years Aquarius SC has done many things and gone to many places, including
in recent times, Christmas pantomimes at local theatres. This year however Aquarius
outdid itself by writing and performing it’s own Pantomime, entitled "The Princess
and the Pico", for the first time.
The original idea for a panto was put forward a year ago by Rodger Wheeler as a way
of encouraging our younger members to get involved in a project over the closed sailing
Imogen Morris came up with an original story and wrote the script. No mean task and
from that point it took on a life of it’s own. Edmund Morris was given the job of
Director backed up by his dad Andrew and Rodger Wheeler as Producer.
Following several production meetings the story was broken down into scenes and a
cast list of both our younger and young at heart members drawn up. Scenery and props
lists were compiled together with costumes, lighting, music and make-up requirements.
While the cast got to grips with learning lines Bodgit Panto Productions got on with
the business of staging the show which included making the stage, designing and painting
scenery and manufacturing stage properties. These included an interesting collection
of small dinghys which were required to be sailed/capsized on the stage.
Bodgit did actually draw the line at a suggestion for a trap door in the stage. It
was felt that cutting a hole in the clubhouse floor would not go down well with the
Management Committee and would create one hell of a draught.
Rodger, doubling up as sound and lighting engineer, vanished into the roof for hours
on end. We have no idea what he did up there but eventually the lights and sound
burst into life, which was helpful.Meanwhile, Richard Cannon and Frank Rainsborough
were looking after Programme Design and the Box Office and it was heartening to hear,
just a few days before the show, that it was sold out and no further bookings were
Jean Hendra, in addition to being cast as a fish, was appointed as make up lady for
the show and this is interesting. I have never seen so many blokes (Rodger Wheeler,
Mike Hendra, Frank Rainsborough and Tony Hopkins to name a few) queuing up for Jean
to do their make up, while arguing about who had the biggest boobs, best hairdo and
most colourful tights. I tell you, put a bloke in a dress and something very weird
happens to him (or them) in this case. I’m especially worried about Tony (The Commodore)
Hopkins, he was overheard chatting up some of the back stage crew at one point.
Joan Courtney looked fantastic as the Fairy, complete with gossamer wings but was
obviously suffering with the cold backstage. Gordon Courtney, on the other hand,
as the priest, had a long warm coat on.
The front of house staff also had plenty to do. Anne Knowles did an excellent job
of producing a very tasty chilli when she realised that Nigel, who was still slaving
away making boats, was never going to find the time to do it himself. Well done Anne.
Thanks also to Pat Halling who helped with the between the scenes entertainment and
Ken Aryes & Simon Lunniss who served up the food after the show was finished.
So what of the show itself. Well, if you had seen the dress rehearsal on Saturday
the 16th. You might have been forgiven if you had suddenly found a more pressing
engagement. Like most dress rehearsals it was a shambles with everybody saying things
like ‘it will be all right on the night’. In the event the Sunday performance actually
went off surprisingly well.
Fortunately the audience don’t know what it should have been so don’t notice all
the things that go wrong. Quite a lot, especially the scene change fillers, had never
The audience entered into the spirit very early on and seemed to be laughing a lot
of the time. Albeit probably at their friends and relatives making absolute fools
of themselves, but what the hell!
Our younger members including Hannah Lunnis, Imogen Morris, Noah Ashworth, Robbie
Lunnis, Dominic Lunnis and Millie Ashworth should be very proud of themselves and
what they achieved in a very short space of time. I also hoped they had a lot of
fun. The mature members were primarily there to support them but I know they got
a lot of enjoyment from it.
Since the panto the video that was recorded on the Sunday has been run several times
for the cast and crew to watch. Hopefully an edited version will be available later
in the year for general viewing. Some of those involved are already taking about
what to do next year. Heaven help us!
I arrived at the club on the evening of Wednesday 27 January to find everybody eating
Haggis, Neaps and Tatties and watching the DVD of the pantomime. The fact that they’d
missed Burns night by two days didn’t seem to bother anybody.
The DVD was the first time that most of the cast had seen the show and I think they
were enjoying it as much as the audience did on the day it was performed.
The impromptu ‘Burns Night’ supper was followed by Lorna Morris’s chocolate cake
with beetroot which, I was told, was very tasty.
Heaven only knows what ‘Rabbie’ would have made of it.