Today was our annual family outing to the John Barrowman/Krankies panto at the SECC in Glasgow.
If I’m honest I’m not a huge fan of either but three years ago I saw them together for the first time in Aladdin and I had a Eureka moment. John Barrowman was born for panto – innuendo, thigh slapping, sparkles and velvet leggings – you get the picture. Add in the Krankies and it’s panto genius.
This year’s show is Jack and the Beanstalk and everyone was worried as it was the first time Janette Krankie has done it since she fell off the beanstalk prop during a matinée in the Pavilion back in 2004. They needn’t have worried about her because the curse of the beanstalk hit John Barrowman this afternoon.
In one scene he appears stage right, bareback on a beautiful but enormous horse. The horse was apparently spooked by a missing curtain on the way onto the stage and got a bit frisky. John slid off the side of the horse as it kind of bucked one side and John landed on his bumbaleery, as Jimmy Krankie would call it. He soldiered on but it was obvious he was in pain and his mic picked him up telling the horse’s handler that he’d hurt his back. He made it to the end of that scene then came to the front of the stage and announced that he’d prefer to be seen by the paramedics and for us to sit tight.
Shortly afterwards the stage manager came on to say that as a precaution John was on his way to hospital to have it checked out and that the understudy Greg Barrowman (John’s cousin) would take over. The show paused for about 20 minutes to let the stage crew rearrange a few things then it was lights up, curtain up and on with the show with a dazzling performance from Greg, even if all John’s costumes were too big for him.
Cue raucous ad-libs from both him and the Krankies. One number was the alternative 12 Days of Christmas which was probably funnier with Greg thanks to missed lines, fairy jokes that worked completely differently with a straight principal boy and both him and Jimmy Krankie falling on spilled water to show what a Scotsman wears under his kilt (Jimmy’s adlib of ‘Aye, he’s definitely a Barrowman’ had me crying with laughter.
At the end The Krankies announced that John was going to be OK, nothing is broken, just bruised and he should be back as Jack for tomorrow’s matinée.
After all that I don’t feel short-changed. Greg definitely has a dazzling career in front of him. At the moment he’s a drama student but if he can pull that off with such professionalism (if you can call falling over and forgetting cues professional) he’s another Captain Jack in the making.
Today I’ve learned:
- it’s good to let the little guy shine
- don’t expect the same thing from a stand-in – different is sometimes better
- falling over is funny, as long as the person didn’t hurt themself
Curried parsnip soup
a knob of butter
a splash of oil
3 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 onions chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1.2 litres vegetable stock
225 mls milk
Method: Melt the butter in the oil in a large pan. Cook the onion and parsnips for around 10 minutes without browning. Add the curry powder and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the stock and milk, bring to a gentle simmer and cover for 45 minutes. Whizz until smooth. You can add chopped parsley or toasted sunflower seeds as a garnish.