Costumes are finished, dances are polished, lines are learned and it's exactly one week until Robinson Crusoe opens at Medina Theatre on the Isle of Wight!
In the run-up to the show, we thought it would be great to do some interviews with the cast, starting with Robinson Crusoe himself, also known as Patrick Barry...
So, Patch, when did you first come into contact with the world of pantomime?
My earliest memory of live theatre is two pantomimes, the first being Pinocchio and the second Snow White.I was so young I can barely remember either performance but I do remember the emotion both evoked. I have no idea if the performances were amateur or professional, whether the actors and actresses performing in them were famous or not, but they conjured a magical energy out of their audience.
I was so desperate for Snow White not to be poisoned, I remember screaming at the top of my voice "Don't eat the apple!" - my mum insists the the theatre was silent at that point, but then the suspense broke and all the children shouted it. Yet such are the rules of panto that our pleas went unheard, or at the very least ignored - Snow White, after all, knew she had a Prince to kiss!
As for Pinocchio? Pure magic. To this day I can't explain how Pinocchio's nose grow to such an impossible length...
What is it that, in your opinion, makes pantomime so special?
For me, reminiscing about the child I was, it has to be about forging a child's first memory of live theatre. For the adult I am now, it is about families spending quality time together, where, for a few hours, all those worries about the real world can be left outside and everyone can have a good shout, boo and cheer!
And what about The Wight Strollers? What makes them so special?
Well, I love panto. I like watching it and I love being in it. And with The Wight Strollers, it seems a little more magic can be wrought by everyone, because this pantomime enables us all - the cast, backstage crew; production department and perhaps most important, the audience - to help those in need on the Isle of Wight live a little bit easier for a little bit longer... and all we need do to help is have fun.
You've taken on the role of Robinson Crusoe - the title role in only your second pantomime with us! How are you feeling about it, one week away from opening night?
Robinson Crusoe, like Sleeping Beauty last year, will see me embracing my twin fears of singing and dancing. Before the performance I shall be quaking in my proverbial boots, petrified I shall place a note or foot wrong... but I know all that fear will be worth it the moment a little voice in the audience shouts out something so sincere, but so unexpected, that their comments and interplay with the characters on stage is a real part of the show.
Thanks, Patch! A great interview - and good luck with the show, we're sure you'll be fantastic, as always!
Don't forget, you can buy your tickets for Robinson Crusoe by phoning Medina Theatre Box Office on 01983 527020 or by visiting their website.