Saturday 17 December 2011


A passing mention of Pantomimes the other day (specifically about a show that was not a panto) reminded me that I've an old photo that I want to share...

It came from David Drummond – of that treasure-house of showbiz memorabilia from bygone eras, Pleasures of Past Times – with whom I presented a recent evening on pantos at The Magic Circle.

As a child, I was mystified by the tradition of Dames being played by men and the leading men, or 'Principle Boys' (Aladdins, Robin Hoods, Robinson Crusoes and Dick Wittingtons), being played by GIRLS!

I always thought there was something a bit odd about the courtship between Snow White, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty and the long-legged, bossomy lasses who were playing their Princes; but I have to say this image of music hall entertainer Fanny Robina in her 1907 Principle Boy get-up, stretches credulity pretty much to breaking point!

"Oh, no it doesn't!"

"Oh, yes it does!"

No wonder I grew up a bit confused about gender attraction issues!


Roger O B... said...

Perhaps some of the Principal Boys were Unprincipled.

Ace Dame Brian Burden who partnered 50s rocker Joe Brown at Windsor for many years (Joe was usually Buttons,Simple Simon, Idle Jack) used to come on and say "Same plot, different frocks".
I also treasure memories of Carmen DuSautoy as a sexy, leggy Puss in Boots. We will be joining the younger members of our extended family for Colchester's traditional panto as usual this New Year with Roger Delves-Broughton in the daft lad part. No
soap stars or children'e cartoon characters, thank goodness.

TRIVIAN: winner of the Xmas quiz

Anonymous said...

Opera can be just as incongruous - I can vividly remember the majestic Marilyn Horne as the romantic hero of "La Donna del Lago"! (RGP)