I don’t know about you, but I’m still full of panto fever. The professional season may have just come to an end but the amateur season is barely 6 weeks in. To celebrate this, here’s the first of my blogs comprising some of the best Dame’s dresses across all of the most popular pantos.
Chris Haywood, Newcastle Theatre Royal, 2012/13
This is a classic Widow Twankey dress inspired by the oriental style hats, lifted above the head by a tall wig. The clash of blue and yellow on the dress make it perfect for the dame and the shaping is style in way which indicates its setting.
This dress is a well themed example of an early-entrance Twankey dress. Another version of a similar dress is modelled here by Richard Aucott. Notably this removes the chest area exposing a fabric bust.
Matthew Kelly, New Wimbolden Theatre, 2013/14
The traditional setting for Aladdin scripts is in Twankey’s Laundry (my Aladdin script is set at a Takeaway). This washer-woman inspired dress is a great theme where the wig reflects the design of the dress. I’ve also seen it recreated in red with Vanish, replacing the ‘v’ so that it reads man-ish.
Morgan Brind, Loughborough Town Hall, 2015/16
The alternative Aladdin setting is often the Takeaway which gives inspiration to a miriad of food-related dress designs. Here’s a couple of my favourites (on the right, another Matthew Kelly from the New Wimbolden Theatre).
Other food designs I’ve seen includ burgers, hot dogs, ice creams and more!
It’s these sort of dresses that really stand out from the rest, in a pantomime like Aladdin.
Antony Stuart-Hicks, Queen’s Theatre Barnstable, 2010/11
Here’s an inspired dress from a South West theatre. Taking the classic blue and white china tea set and turning it into a dress is a really excellent idea. Although others have used the patterns, this 3D reconstruction is quite something!
The teapot on the top of the head really tops it off (no pun intended) and the blue sparkly fabric underneath is a nice touch as well.
Christopher Biggins, Nottingham Theatre Royal, 2015/16
The king/queen of panto himself wore this incredible chinese lantern dress for the finale of Aladdin last year at Nottingham Theatre Royal before taking a ‘sabattical’ from panto citing that the run last year really tired him out.
It’s an embelished traditional chinese lantern design in colours of the finale from the show. In order that the exterior fabric is not pulled taught, there is an interiror skeleton in the dress.
This may well be the last time we see Biggins in panto but surely this dress has to have a life after last year!
I do not own the copyright for any of the above dresses, I’ve simply collated them to showcase some of my favourites for the pantomime Aladdin and the dame Widow Twankey.