03:55PM, Tuesday 13 October 2020
A Christmas pantomime in Maidenhead looks set to survive the coronavirus pandemic with a run of Jack and the Beanstalk scheduled at Braywick Leisure Centre.
Although many pantomimes have had to be cancelled this year because venues cannot be made COVID-secure, the new facility in Braywick Road has the ample space required.
The cast can be socially distanced on stage, and the audience capacity will be reduced from 700 to 280 so that people can be safely seated in bubbles of up to six.
Show producer and director, David Kemp, of DK productions said the importance of continuing the annual tradition of panto this year is ‘huge’ and hopes life will imitate art.
“The plan is it will be all singing and dancing and bring some cheer for a short period of time – which is needed at the moment,” he said.
“It’s about having a dream, and hope, that things can change,” he added. “Whether it’s the baddie Flesh Creep or the baddie virus in normal life.”
Traditionally a two-act performance, this year the pantomime will be a one-act show to minimise movement within the auditorium.
But that does not mean there is less to look forward to. David said the show has just been made more compact.
It will still be the quick-paced and engaging entertainment people have come to expect complete with audience interaction, ‘the ghost routine’, booing at the baddie, a Dame and topical jokes.
“Last year it was obviously all about Brexit, and the year before would you believe, and it probably would have been this year if we hadn’t of had coronavirus,” David said.
One element that has had to be cut altogether is ‘song-sheet’ because the Government has said having an audience singing or chanting is not allowed.
But despite social distancing there will still be romance, with the ‘romantic duo’ creating a ‘performance bubble’.
There will be 12 performances of Jack and the Beanstalk between Saturday, December 19 to Thursday, December 24.
David said: “Last year we saw over 3,000 people come to see Snow White, we want them to come back.”
To find out more and to buy tickets, got to www.maidenheadpanto.co.uk
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