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"Minced Head" is twinned with Frankenstein, Transylvania

Frankenstein the panto was a lot of fun, featuring Giles Gardner as Baron Von Frankenstein and Philip Payne as Lord Congleton. Simon Elkins was the monster. Jonathon Hayward was Congleton's chauffeur "Selwood". "Smart fellow that Selwood, if I don't watch out he'll have the Lodge off me!". Pete Jaggard for a long time the Punch and Judy man at Swanage wrote the music for this one. It was nice.

The party set off in a pedal car down the hall (More memories of that from Berry Stone I hope)
Oh we're off to Frankensein
Where the air's as sweet as wine,
And in sunlit Transylvania, there we hope to entertainya
With a happy, jolly, funny, yes a sunny pantomime
Once the Minstead (sorry Minced Head) party got to Transylvania there was trouble upstairs and downstairs. Wendy Cooper, the Lodge cook, fell fowl of her Transylvanian opposite number, her sister Susie. Above is the supposed Transylvanian for "Oh yes there is" and "Oh no there isn't". (Actually Russian for Yes true and No Not True - in Cyrillic on the left and transliterated on the back ( or maybe just transliterated to the audience to shout in "Tranylvanian".) I guess the previous line must have been "Watch out there's a monster behind you".

Other stars of the show were Sally Hayward and Emma Tyrell - we have more photos that I hope to put up soon.

Jeanie Mellersh writes
A lot of Susie`s lines were in Russian and she hadn't a clue how to say them or remember them. Nick got them translated by a Russian speaking IBMer and Susie came to me (Jeanie) in tears. She couldn't make head nor tail of it. Could I help her? I then got the translator to make a cassette tape of the words and learnt them myself. A lot of them were insults so we chased eachother round the hall shouting a Russian insult each at one another. Then we expanded our vocabulary with two each and repeated the other's insults until it all made sense. We hope that nobody in the audience was Russian speaking. Posted by Jeanie.

Siouxsie Cooper writes
This was the first pantomine in which I could comfortably say I wasn't a Flippin Fairy!!! I was a Russian Cook and as demonstrated above I also had to have a crash course in Russian. A great time was spent on Friday afternoons rehearsing and eating Lardy Cake and trying to understand the translations and pronounciations on Jeanie's tape recorder. It was fun and Jeanie and Nick made it more alive and entertaining with their endless enthusiasm and attention to detail. I took several standing ovations during these performances and I learnt the performance craft of holding the stage. It was a great moment of self-realisation and the production as a whole was innovative and heralded the beginning of taking on non-pantomime subject matter, like Tarzan, Star Trek and the Wizard of Oz.
(posted by Siouxsie Cooper)

Sally Hayward writes:
Frankenstein was quite different, not only because of the subject matter, but also because the old guard had moved on - no Marcelle, no Jo Gardner, no Emma or even Nibby or Michael Abbott - it was time for others to have their go. Probably the biggest surprise for me was Phillip Payne. Suddenly he had grown much taller and cut a dash as Lord Congleton dressed in Sherlock Holmes type tweeds. My brother, Jonathan, also had a bigger role as Selwood. Emma Tyrell and I were Lord Congleton's horse mad sisters - Lady Jodpur 'Sanyo Music Centre' Congleton and Lady Gymkhana 'Everest Double Glazing' Congleton (or was it the other way around?)
I loved the first scene when we all packed up and headed off from 'Minstead' to 'Minced-Head', Transylvania on a village twinning or something. Someone (Berry and/or Geoff?) had made a wonderful car and it was parked in front of the stage. At that time there was an enormous table in front of the stage which acted as a stage extention. We all (about 10 of us) walked off the stage, got into the little car, but then got out the other side and hid underneath the table. Selwood and Lord Congleton (Jonathan and Phillip) then drove around the audience with a tape recorder of our voices blaring out from the back seat. They eventually parked up against the table again (presumably once the stage set had been changed), then we all crawled out from underneath the table, through the car and onto the stage. It worked brilliantly, and I think that a few little ones were actually fooled!
Emma and I had wonderful costumes. Anne Brown, who was truly wonderful with the costumes, had been given or had found a wonderful black stuff silk dress with original lace trim, boned corset, puffed sleeves etc... She tidied it up and then added, (for panto dame effect) large lime green ribbons. The black silk hat was equally as splendid with a massive brim, a buckle and lime green trim. The only adjustment I was not altogether happy about was that she felt that the scoop neck showed a little too much cleavage, so to protect my modesty she added a line of black silk. If you see the pictures, that explains why my dress neckline looks a little odd. Kate Tyrell then made Emma's dress from scratch along the same lines, only in purple and lilac.
franksally.jpg
Sally and Emma fight over who should have Baron von Frankinstein
We had a great scene together where we set our bedroom up as an indoor gymkhana, then confessed that we were both falling in love with the Baron Frankinstein (Giles Gardner). We then sang a duet where we were all lovely dovey about him during the verses and in the chorus had a cat fight singing "Bags I Frankinstein, Frankinstein is mine. Hands off Frankenstein... I saw him first so its obvious you see. Bags I Frankenstien, he belongs to me!". The music was particularly good that year, partly due to the songs, but also the chap who played the piano was brilliant, (no offence Marion, you're great too), I think he was off to play professionally - I'm sure Jeannie would know.

Sally Hayward

Nick Adds
Yes the music was great for this one. It was written with a touch of Slavic style by Peter Jaggard. Pete was the long time Punch and Judy man at Swanage and a man of some talent. (We must write another show together soon Pete!). We actually have a tape of Pete playing and of Sally and Emma singing "Bags I Frankenstein" a terrific performance. Sadly the technology was not so good in those days and, because the recorder was near the band, Sally and Emma are completely drowned by Pete's enthusiastic piano. However it does record Simon Elkins as the monster. A really dramatic performance!

I'd forgotten that the sisters were called "Sanyo Music Centre" and "Everest Double Glazing". At that time, to overcome sponsorship rules, the horses were named after products and there really was one horse (though no rider) called "Sanyo Music Centre." The excited commentators would say "and yes .. it's Sanyo Music Centre. He has just cleared the water jump making it a clear round for Pam Harvey Richards ..." .... Well I suppose music centres did have four legs.
frankphilip.jpg
An aristocratic Philip Payne, as Lord Congleton, looks on while sinister Giles Gardner as Baron von Frankinstein attempts to bring his
monster (Simon Elkins) to life
Philip Payne was great as Congleton. At one stage Philip got a working starter gun with a blank in it and my appreciation of the show was a bit marred by the fear he would injure someone or himself with it. Philip, now a responsible policeman and probably more sensible than he looked, did nothing of the kind. (Thank God!)


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