January. Tabard bets you thought all talk of panto was behind you. Oh no, it isn’t, because there are a couple of incidents worth mentioning before the year runs away with us and we find ourselves discussing audience behaviour. Again.
The first concerns the Birmingham Hippodrome, which has named a seat in honour of panto performer Matt Slack, who is celebrating his sixth consecutive season at the venue. A dedicated seat in row L of the stalls has a plaque reading: “Matt Slack, making Birmingham laugh six years and counting – 2018.”
Tabard hopes whoever sits in that seat at the next panto won’t feel the need to take issue with the theatre for getting their hopes up if the comedy should fall short. No pressure, Matt.
Over at Theatr Clwyd, artistic director Tamara Harvey was forced to step into a panto at the last minute, after a cast member injured herself. Harvey, who was feeding her children at the time, dashed to the venue to save the performance and play Alice in Dick Whittington.
Harvey has form here. Last year, National Theatre director Rufus Norris stepped into the cast of Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling – directed by Harvey – when one of its actors was taken ill. As actor Samuel West pointed out on Twitter this week: “What is it with @tamaracharvey shows? If I were in her next cast I’d be very afraid.”
Oh no, you wouldn’t! Oh yes, you… sorry.