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Daniel Clarkson: Co-writer and Performer Potted Panto

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So I’m now but two days away from leaving my lovely cozy London flat and embarking up to my now summer home from home, the beloved Edinburgh festival! In this the calm before the storm, I’ve been asked to put down a few thoughts for the reading pleasure of those people in the world wide web world. And as I’m never one to shy away from a spotlight, here we go.

It seems like just yesterday when myself, Jeff, our director the lovely Richard Hurst and our producer Mr. James ‘I’ve just had my own book on producing published’ Seabright sat in a small coffee house just down from the Trafalgar studios, just before the half hour call for ‘Potted Potter’ and talked over an idea for a show that some how might combine all the classic Pantomimes into 70 minutes. We swapped thoughts, laughed, and with the Christmas mochas keeping our bellies warm, walked away. I remember smiling to myself thinking “Whatever, bring panto to Edinburgh, in the middle of the summer! That’ll never happen”. Yet here we are 6 months later, the previews are done, the set paint is drying and my various fairy and dame costumes are having their final alterations!

It’s hard to describe the mixture of feelings that are currently dancing through my head. There’s the excitement at the prospect of the new show, but at the same time the worry and anxiety. Will we sell any tickets? Will everyone, or even anyone like it? And will ‘brass monkey’s’ still be doing pie and beans for £2 (and a free cup of tea if you get served by the lovely girl with the big brown eyes!)? I mean, it’s all well and good giggling amongst yourselves in a rehearsal space when you bound out dressed as a beanstalk, but will anyone else find this entertaining? (This of course is a bad example as who wouldn’t find a 31-year-old; 6’4 man dressed as a green Lycra beanstalk the funniest thing in the world? That’s your basic comedy right there. It’s a tried and tested formula. Clown school day one, ‘dress up as a big shrub and you’ll never fail!’).

There is also an overwhelming sense of pride at what you’ve managed to achieve, now ask me if that’s still there in a few weeks from now and it could be a different story! But seeing those moments, which just a few weeks ago were nothing more than scribblings in the back of a note book made while stuck in a delay on London Underground, come to life on a stage really does fill you with awe and feel so rewarding.

So with all these emotions happily dropping dance moves in my head and making sure that until we open next week sleep is a redundant pass time, I’d have to say that I’m really looking forward to the festival this year. I have a good feeling about this one, it’s going to be fun. If for no other prospect than that of our over worked, ever smiley intern (who happens to be a fringe virgin, god help her) going to the Edinburgh tourist board, with no sense of irony or sarcasm, asking for information on the best spots to go Haggis hunting! She’d never heard of a Haggis, and what kind of person would I be not to let her know all about the furry little critters that run up the side of the Scottish Highlands! Will she go through with it? Watch this space!


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