Love Conquers All in Flash Gordon

Here is the poster done, by Kate Tyrrell. Notice the price now gone up from the original 25p to 60p. Notice also that the performance was on the Friday and Saturday. We had a tremendous battle to move the panto from Junior Minstead's traditional Tuesday Evening slot to the Friday and Saturday. It seems this was the year we won. Lots of great performances in this one by Nibby Saunders among others.

Below is a page from the original script. Note that it is cyclostyled (printed onto sort of skin masks that let the printing ink through where they had been typed on - then hand rolled page by page, it was all a messy process). This script was printed onto a computer fanfold print-out with a dump of Response Codes (whatever the hell they were) on the back.
High drama as you can see. But kids need high drama. Acting to them is a way of exploring emotions that they don't understand yet bur expect to feel as adults. Acting is like any other form of play, it is done to explore their personalities not to amuse an audience. But enough ... you can read my views on pantomimes and how to write them at http://www.nick.mellersh.net/panto.htm

No photos - Oh yes there are (well one at least)

Records of this panto are elusive! I thought I had some photos but I was deceived by the pair of wonderful shiny pink jeans which I thought were exclusive to "Flash", but seem to have been worn in "Cinderella"..... There is a programme in existence, a copy of which appeared r at the exhibition; can anyone help with photos???? Isabel Well we have found one - Justin Mellersh as Flash's mother. See below. Nick

Sally Hayward Remembers

You were not deceived Isabel (see Isabel's entry above), Marcelle wore red silky jeans as Dale Arden, gold silky jeans were then worn by Joe Wright as the prince in Cinderella!
Marce and I could not believe it, Mum actually went out and bought Marcelle the most fashionable and coveted trousers ever, and all in the name of the panto, plus she looked great in them. She had an off-one-shoulder white T shirt, it was plain in the dress rehearsal, but after that somebody wrote 'DALE' in Flash Gordon style writing across it, and her costume was completed by a Wonder Women type tiara - the best costume she ever had!
As well as that adjustment in the dress rehearsal I remember Tara Nagib wearing a long black dress with a dramatic headdress as Ming's daughter. Someone deemed the outfit too plain and cut the skirt diagonally from ankle to thigh, exposing one leg. It looked better, albeit a bit sexy, so much so that her Auntie was furious and said that she would never let her be in the panto again!!
My favorite scene was when Flash's Mum emerged from the rocket having been accidentally trapped whilst spring cleaning. This was actually Justin Mellersh dressed like an American lady tourist, with an accent to match. He / she then bumps into Ming (Nibby Saunders) which looked funny before he said anything as he was at least 2 foot shorter than Jus. Ming has a ring that has the power to hypnotise. On one night Ming held out his hand to Jus and bellowed "See this ring" - but he had held out the wrong hand, so Jus had to improvise saying something about, "Gee no, I don't see any ring on that hand, but you have a lovely one on the other!". It took Nibby a few seconds to figure out his mistake and say his lines again whilst holding out his other hand - the audience loved it.

Here is a picture of the incident. It has j Just turned up in 2009 from Sarah Parry the then girl friend of Justin. Photo probably taken by Neil Truckell.
I was the princess Asphodel in this one, an alien, so I had a sparkly costume and sequins glued onto my face. On the Saturday I had been to London with Dad and Peter Gardner, plus a few other Gardners. I don't remember what we were there for, but we were late leaving and stuck in traffic, us kids were panicking and Peter drove like a lunatic to get us home in time. Luckily our house was one of the make up venues so at least we didn't have to get anywhere else. There was a brilliant atmostphere at home. All the Mums doing make up downstairs, all the children upstairs either waiting to be made up, or waiting for a lift to the hall, hundreds of kids all wearing shiny outfits, or sprayed silver, or covered in sequins, all excited about the evenings performance.

Sally Hayward

Nick comments
Yes I enjoyed Flash's mother, played with gusto by our son Justin. She was forever worried that Flash would end up in a rocket accident and not be wearing his clean underwear. (Surely the worry of every astronaut's mother) She had sneaked aboard his rocket to spring-clean Flash's "den" and make sure there were adequate supplies of laundered underpants when she was whisked off to the planet Mungo to meet the evil Ming.

Geoff Green's props

Task: Build a spaceship into which a number of children climbed and then have it take off vertically!
Solution: Given a plastic dustbin, some one litre, empty plastic drinks bottles, some plastic tubing and the inevitable fence wire and papier mache the craft was constructed.
By carefully positioning scenery the children were seen to walk into the craft but were not seen to crawl out the other side. Then came lift – off, almost certainly accompanied by dry ice or perhaps a smoke machine. Muscle power suitably increased by one of Steve’s pulley systems slowly raised the ship and it disappeared into the roof space, to dangle over the children's’ heads, held by a single rope, for the remainder of the show.
Health and what?

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