Andy Collins column: A sneak peak inside this year's Aylesbury Waterside Panto preparations...

I’ve pleased to say after many weeks /months of panto script meetings with Chris Nelson our amazing director, La Voix my comedy partner in crime and myself working alongside Waterside Theatre management and UK productions we have finally finished the script its been a joy to meet up with this lot to thrash out and fine tune it all and to watch La Voix throw a hissy fit when we all voted to drop one of her songs haha.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 4:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 5:24 pm
Andy getting ready for panto

In the process of putting this all together I have to say apart from the odd tears there was much laughter and there are a few scenes I laughed so hard as we talked it all through in the final planning meeting that I wet myself!

Fingers crossed you will do the same (theatre staff we better get some new mops just in case).

With only over a month to go its time to start getting the body and mind ready, two shows a day for six weeks!

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A script writing session

Now a little sneak behind the curtain for you.

We only have ten days, yes that's right only ten days from the moment all the cast meet for the first time till our opening night to learn our lines, comedy slapstick timings, songs and the bit that fills me with dread - dance routines, its ten long days and late nights to try and cram it all in, throw into the mix that I’m still getting up at 4am to go do my breakfast radio show at the same time!

I’m not going to lie, stress levels go through the roof but this is the weird thing I LOVE IT!

I just do, I thrive on the pressure and it helps greatly that I have an amazing cast and team all pulling together in the same direction.

The Beauty and the Beast poster

And my friend La Voix who just makes me laugh when at times I just want to scream, and let my head explode she will say or do something that just makes me go ‘oh its ok we have got this’.

Of course the real stress comes on opening night and that moment just before curtain up and you start to doubt not just yourself, but if the script and Panto in general works.

Of course the fact you’re my home town adds to the heart attack feeling, but as I sit in my dressing room I cant tell you how comforting it is to hear that buzz from the audience via the backstage speakers, and when I hear that first cheer and laugh it just makes the pressure float away and for the next six weeks I have the biggest smile on my face let me tell you!

I really hope you enjoy this year’s Beauty and the Beast, if you do and you love it then great my name is Andy Collins and this is Beauty and the Beast panto At the Aylesbury Waterside, if you hated it and thought it was rubbish then my names Joe Pasquale and you have been watching in Milton Keynes haha xxx

Oh yes! Before I go and get measured up for my panto tights remember we wanted to do something a bit special and unique this year, so we are launching a fantastic scheme called Magic Tickets.

The scheme offers panto-goers the opportunity to purchase an additional ticket at a discounted rate of just £10 to send a less fortunate child and their family to see Beauty and the Beast this Christmas.

The theatre and I have partnered up with charities including Children with Cancer UK, Florrie’s Children’s Team, Bucks Young Carers and Absolutely Together who will distribute the Magic Tickets to the very

deserving families.

There are lots of youngsters out there who are unable to join the panto adventure, but Magic Tickets means children who otherwise wouldn’t be able experience the wonderful world of theatre, will have the chance to do exactly that this year.

I want to thank you in advance for your support.

Anyway as always big hugs, see you around town I’m sure.

Love Andy xx