Buxton Opera House panto unleashes eye-popping special effect

James Holmes, panto dame at Buxton Opera House.
James Holmes, panto dame at Buxton Opera House.

A new recruit has joined the cast rehearsing Dick Whittington at Buxton Opera House. He’s 6ft tall, tanned and just loves being in the kitchen.

No, it’s not another wannabe Paul Hollywood. The new arrival is a giant, inflatable sausage, custom made for this year’s pantomime.

This eye-popping special effect is needed for a comic cookery scene that goes disastrously wrong, but when CTP Pantomimes Company stage manager Vernon Marshal rang round hire firms trying to find a suitable prop, all the inflatables offered were too small.

“The sausage escapes from the oven during cooking and gradually gets bigger and bigger,” says writer/director Philip Dart. “It’s a traditional gag that always brings the house down, but the joke only works if the sausage is really big. We didn’t want to disappoint audiences, so we decided to commission our own, custom-made version.”

Unfortunately, the commissioning process didn’t go as smoothly as Philip had hoped. “The manufacturer sent us a picture when the inflatable was finished, but instead of looking like sausage that had just come out of the oven, it looked more like a hotdog. We had to ask them to paint it again to make it look as real as possible.”

The end result is a two-metre long British banger that promises to make a real impact when it emerges from the stage ‘oven’. It’s just one of the hilarious comedy scenes audiences can expect when they book for Dick Whittington, starring James Holmes (‘Clive’ from the BBC comedy series Miranda) and Gabrielle Green (‘Katrina’ from CBBC’s award-winning drama series Wolfblood).

Dick Whittington opens at the Opera House on Saturday, December 8, and runs until Wednesday, December 30. For tickets call, 01298 72190 or click here click here