A FAMOUS DJ falls in love with a dame and the Mayor claims Jack’s beanstalk needs
A FAMOUS DJ falls in love with a dame and the Mayor claims Jack’s beanstalk needs planning permission.
Sound like a fairy story? Well, it is — sort of.
The Kenton Theatre in Henley has been shooting a series of short films to promote its Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.
The “shorts”, which will be shown online, feature members of the cast meeting some of the town’s characters and visiting local landmarks.
The films were shot last week by the Living Room TV advertising company, which is based in Henley, and were produced and directed by owner Kieran Gavin, panto producer Oli Seadon and Kenton volunteer Nicola Power.
In one film, Jack (and Jill) struggle to find their way to the New Street theatre from the Berkshire side of Henley Bridge and Jack is seen trying to read a map.
The action then cuts to an “allotment” which is being tended to by BBC Radio Berkshire DJ Mike Read, who lives in Henley.
He hands the pair a bag of “magic” beans which he says will help guide them.
The hapless duo then visit the Gabriel Machin butchers in Market Place. They emerge seconds later with some sausages — followed by puzzled-looking proprietor Barry Wagner.
Jack and Jill, now running late, then turn up at Hotel du Vin in New Street, where a barman points along the road to the theatre.
There, they are confronted by the Mayor Lorraine Hillier in her robes of office, dusting the advertising cabinets. She insists that Jack’s beanstalk needs planning permission.
Other shots focus on Dame Trott who also goes to the allotment where she meets Read, who falls hopelessly in love with her. The Dame also meets the Mayor but is unimpressed and banishes her from the theatre.
Read said: “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was supposed to be on my allotment and hand over some beans.
“We had these canes so I had the idea that we needed some cans of baked beans that we could tie to them. It was typically panto — kids would laugh as they would see baked beans rather than runner beans.”
Asked about his “love scene”, Read said: “It was suggested that I knelt down and kissed the dame’s hand and pretended that she was stunning. They filmed different bits of her, her legs, her hands, and then they revealed her in full-length so you could see that she clearly was the pantomime dame.
“The thing is, I haven’t had an email or a letter or a phone call from her — I’m hurt!” Mr Wagner, who took over the butcher’s from Ian Blandford last month, said: “Jack and Jill came into the shop and said they were hungry before supposedly stealing some sausages and I had to come out and look puzzled and scratch my head.
“I had to do a few takes because I’m not used to having to look stupid but it was nice to do and I’m pleased to have been asked, having just taken over the business.”
Councillor Hillier said: “They wanted me to point the way to the Kenton for Jack and his girlfriend and I said that I ought to be doing something, so I thought of polishing the noticeboard.
“They looked for a duster and the very nice Andy, from the new dry cleaners opposite, lent us a yellow duster.
“I really enjoyed it and I would love to do it again.” Ed Simons, chairman of Kenton trustees, said: “The idea was to get something together to tickle everyone’s imagination three months before the panto.
“We’re going on sale with 20 performances with the possibility of adding a further three — we are really going for it. We took a massive risk when we first did the panto four years ago but since then our budget has grown by 400 per cent. It was a tremendous investment for the theatre and it still is but it works well and has become a traditional part of the community.”
Meanwhile, the theatre re-opens to the public tonight (Friday) following the refurbishment of its foyer with a sold-out production of Tell Me On A Sunday with actress Marti Webb reprising her leading role in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
Mr Simons said: “The new foyer is entirely welcoming from the moment you go in and it gives us the ability to serve everybody properly and efficiently and maximise our ability for sales. I absolutely love it — I couldn’t be prouder of it. It sets the right tone and does everything that I wanted it to do.”
• The films will be released in the run-up to the 20-date run at the New Street theatre and will be available on Henley Standard TV.