Clachan Calamities

The Clachan Calamities are a pantomime company celebrating their 18th anniversary this year with a production of David Swan’s Aladdin at Clachan Village Hall. Clachan lies about halfway to Campbeltown from the Grannary, so we’d not been to see the previous years’ productions while we had been in Argyll, but this year we had a friend who was acting the part of Wishy Washy, so a visit was a delightful obligation.
The cast was a proper village panto cast, with the singular exception of a female Dame, of whom more later. We chose to sit in the front row – always a dangerous thing to do on the Saturday night of a local panto – but I, for one, was very pleased with the view of the dancing girls from this position. When they were selling the raffle tickets I was told the price was “one pound for a strip” and, like the naughty man I am, I asked the girls how much the tickets were. All right, I was just getting in the mood.
The village hall at Clachan has no proper stage and the dressing rooms are behind the audience, so certain theatrical conventions were put aside. Also, this was far more of a revue than a panto, with the good music, dance ensemble introduction and some of the wildest, if not Wildean, ad libs I’ve heard for a long time.
Ah, back to the Dame. Traditionally, the dame is a saucy woman of a certain age, played by a man who plays vulgar but not camp. This dame was a real saucy woman of a certain age who, in the interests of her art, had left her teeth out for the night. Probably less that five feet tall, she came onto stage in one of the best dame costumes I;ve seen in a long time and had the audience in stitches without uttering a word in less than two seconds.
Aladdin was the best of the dancers, a young lady with not only great stage presence and great legs, but a very sassy lass who dealt with unruliness on the part of the rest of the cast with great aplomb and no little wit.
The show was a riot from start to finish, with the production highlight being the UV fluorescent “magic” scene in the cave, where Aladdin finds the lamp and awakes the genii – another stunning young actress in the most fantastic, glow-in-the-dark make-up. This scene is the excuse for the magic tricks – floating genii, slowly disappearing food and Aladdin’s own transformation into the prince.
Suitable victims were selected from the audience for ritual humiliation on stage, including a local high school teacher who was chosen to be executed but was saved from that awful fate by the princess’s merciful intervention.
The baddies and not-so-bad were played for full effect and clowning by Wishy Washy and the Peking Duck did their best to keep up with the wickedest and funniest Glasgow dame I’ve ever seen – I am totally converted to the Glaswegian style of dame, particularly in the hands of an exponent of this most fast-witted form of verbal dexterity.
The evening was three hours of some of the best entertainment I’ve ever had for only five quid, and we will certainly go back next year, and the year after and the year after that.

Posted in art, fun, humour. 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Clachan Calamities”

  1. lesley kean director clachan calamities Says:

    Dear Pat the Chook,
    As the director of clachan calamities, I would like to thank you for all your absolutely wonderful praise for this years production of Aladdin. I am sure our Dame Margaret Henderson will be thrilled to hear your comments. She is the most amazing woman who does immense work for charity- incidently she never wears her teeth apart from weddings etc! Her costumes were made by both myself and a very capable young lady- Glynis Lewin. All our costumes including our lovely Quackers are made by ourselves.
    I had to giggle on reading your comments about “£1 a strip”. When I see the rest of the cast and the dance girls with the lovely legs I will pass on your comments!!
    Our aim in clachan calamities is only to raise a smile and I am delighted we did for you. We take raw recruits such as Wishee and he turns himself into something spectacular. I will never be letting him escape from our midst because his and Margaret’s magic together was sheer “chemistry!”
    I giggled at your comments about Aladdin, played by Caeleigh Kean, holding all the mayhem together and even more so because as her “real mum” compared to Aladdin’s stage mum being Widow Twankee, I got a full buket of water in my face at the bath scene ( I was Susie Pong).In fact if I am right you got covered in water at some point too…hehehe
    I would like to thank Jim Inness, teacher at Tarbert, for allowing us to set him up to have his head decapitated of by our big man wielding his giant chopper!!!!
    As it is I have never laughed so much at a pantomime as I did with this performance. I am sure our coast will be able to rekindle this magic between them when we redo the performance at some stage within the next three weeks at Tarbert village hall. We have been asked by the tarbert village hall committee to perform in their hall to help then raise funds for renovations. And of course we will oblige.
    So dear Pat the chook, thank you again for all your wonderful comments and I will be most certainly passing these onto the cast at our next meeting on Sunday 3rd February.
    lesley kean AKA Suzie Pong.

  2. Pat the Chooks Says:

    Glad that you found this “review” affirmative and useful. Lurking in the archives of this blog you will find some clues to my own pantomimic identity.
    I’ve heard that you’re on in Tarbert in a couple of weeks’ time and will do my best to come and see the show again if time permits.

  3. lesley kean Says:

    Hi Pat,

    after a phone call to wishee washee I knew who you are. And if you wish tocome along to give us some pointers I can tell you now, you will be made very welcome. If you can, sunday 4th february, 2pm tarbert village hall.
    The cast loved your comments!

  4. Pat the Chooks Says:

    Hah! The mask has slipped! I don’t think I’ve got anything to teach a company like yours, but am always willing to learn … not sure I can make tomorrow afternoon; the wife has plans …

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Pat, we all never stop learning from each other.

    The panto is being reshown in its Saturday night , slightly more adult entirety, on 10th March 7.30pm at Tarbert village Hall. So if you want you can come visit with us then or before. I am going to have to think of doing something VERY mischievious to Wishee that night! It’s the Director’s perogative to make the casts lives a misery! WICKED LAUGHTER!!!!!!


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