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KL.FM Off-Air, by Charles Dennett, November 28, 2017

Corn Exchange King's Lynn Panto Photo call with the cast of Jack & the Beanstalk the 2017 Production.
Corn Exchange King's Lynn Panto Photo call with the cast of Jack & the Beanstalk the 2017 Production.

Well, as you read this it’s day two of the Panto rehearsals for Jack and The Beanstalk at the Alive Corn Exchange.

As I write, I’m getting geared up for the first day of rehearsals. To say I’m excited doesn’t come close.

This is my second year in panto at the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn following Cinderella last year. Somehow they asked me back to be involved this year.

It was a steep learning curve for someone whose last time acting was in school productions over a decade ago. Cue me turning up fresh faced on the first day of rehearsal, quite frankly terrified that I was not going to be anywhere near up to scratch with the professional actors, singers and dancers who do this sort of thing for a living.

“They’ll tell the Corn Exchange there’s been a dreadful mistake.” I thought. “He shouldn’t be here – he can’t even sing in tune.”

I needn’t have been so worried – I was welcomed in, helped and supported by the amazing cast and crew particularly with my dance moves.

Going back to this year, and I simply can’t wait to get stuck in. I know far more what is involved now. To anyone who thinks it must be a laugh and a jolly, I can tell you, that whilst it is an awful lot of fun, and I won’t pretend that it is harder than a lot of people’s jobs, it is certainly a professional operation. Rehearsals sometimes run for over 12 hours, and when the run starts itself, the cast and crew have no life outside of the theatre whatsoever for an entire month.

Just as well everybody loves it so much! It’s like a family – within ten days of rehearsal, you go from never having met before to being best friends with everyone. Helping each other through lines that you can’t remember, to songs that you’re fluffing the chorus on, to dance routines that you’ve forgotten again (me).

Having read the script (at least once, I promise) it is one of the funniest and finest pantos around. Jordan Productions, who put on the King’s Lynn panto, are truly masters. It’s traditional, family fun at Christmas.

A couple of friendly faces are back once again this year – the fantastic Ian Marr and Scott Cripps as Dame Trott and Simple Simon.

I’m playing the Lord Chamberlain – the man responsible for the taxes in Panto land. Going to be tough making him likeable… but I’ll give it a shot. Just forgive the dance moves!

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