Day 10 in the Big Harrogate Theatre

By Tim Stedman

The evolution of pantomimes not content with asking us to sing, dance, act in costumes designed to wow rather than wear also requires us to fight.  If it’s good versus evil settle it with swords.

We all sat quietly enjoying Tom (our baddie) and Lara (our goodie) learning the fight.  Except me.  I tried to behave.  To just watch and learn why one swing of the sword is better than another; why this stance is stronger than that.  But within five minutes I had knee and elbow pads on and a stunt jacket and was sat straddling my chair the wrong way round – “Make my day”.

Though I fidgeted from the testosterone and nervous energy, all my colleagues ignored the wacky racer auditioning on his chair.  I love stage combat.  After football, I “play” fought most of my childhood with my brother and sister.  I can do ‘slow mo’ fight, the down-and-dirty-using-household-items fight, and a death scene Oscar winners would give their careers for.

I had to leave the room till Katie (our DSM) called me: “You’re up.”  I strode into that rehearsal like John Wayne, like Batman…. Like Arnie.  Andy (our fight instructor) was weighing me up – “Yes the force is strong in this one.” He took two swords swirled them round his ears like interconnecting Catherine wheels.  “Now you,” he said.  I smiled I find things like this quite easy.

25 minutes later everybody had left.  My one moment and I can’t… just can’t get them to do that.  “It’s the swords… must be too heavy…” I joked.

“They’re plastic, Tim.”


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