Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Basil Brush

I really, really hated Basil Brush, so it was a blow one Christmas when McMum triumphantly announced that she'd acquired tickets for Basil Brush in Pantomime at the Sunderland Empire for the whole family to celebrate my birthday. I stretched my lips over my teeth in a painful grin, put on my party clothes and off we went.
Actually, it was one of the most hilariously funny experiences of my life, from being plastered flat against an almost vertical wall of seats in the Gods and feeling that if you leaned forward to cough you'd somersault down into the unwary audience seated in the Upper Circle, to Basil's piece-de-resistance joke:
'Everybody turn to the person on your left and say "How do you do"'. (everyone groans and does as they are told.)
'Now turn to the person on your right and say "Mind your own business"'.
Ha ha, I spend my life trying to find audiences I can use that one on!
Another odd thing is that Little Bruv used to work night shifts at Walkers Crisps in Leicester, and he said one night he was sittingin the cafe chatting loudly about the Basil Brush in Pantomime experience, and someone at the next table said 'Oh yes, I went to that too'. Gradually, a chorus chimed in from other tables, and actually, that panto had been a formative experience for many of the night staff at the Leicester Walkers Crisp factory. Extraordinary. What's more, when Smeg was round the other night he told me that the girlfriend that wore Rod (the first Chefs drummer) out with her libido, and her twin sister, were the daughters of the original Basil Brush voiceover artist. Double extraordinary!
Larstly (you see, I can talk southern!) if you live in Scotland, go to the Perth Theatre pantomime. It has got to be the best in the world. the same cast, endlessly recycled.. the fairy gets older and ends up being the witch, the leading man gets older and fatter and becomes the comedy baddie, audience full of terrifyingly energetic elderly ladies guffawing away and roaring along in all the choruses, Principal 'Boy' with unfeasibly large thighs trembling in white tights, children from local schools got stars in their eyes, Oh no he didn't oh yes he did, can this side of the Theatre sing louder than that side, digs at the local football team, bouncy panto piano music with musical director practically shrugging his jacket off his shoulders with enthusiasm, sponsor mentioned a little too often, it's brilliant!


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