Oh, no they didn’t! ADC Panto fined

Carly Hilts 20 January 2008

The Footlights Pantomime ‘Once Upon A Time’ has been fined by the ADC theatre for repeatedly running over time.

Despite signing a contract agreeing to finish by 10.30pm, the play, jointly run by the ADC Committee and Footlights, consistently went on too late.

The pantomime’s producer Gemma Brady blamed “unpredictable aspects of pantomime like audience participation and reaction meant that the length was harder to control than your average show.

“We realised there was a problem with the length and made cuts to the script to address the issue.”

Despite these efforts, the pantomime failed to escape being fined. ADC policy is to charge mainshows £2.50 for each minute that they run past 10.30pm, The pantomime was therefore fined a total of £32.50 for the show on the 24th November, which ran on until 10.43pm.

The late shows of both pantomime weeks faced problems when they found their get-in time greatly reduced. Bound to finish by midnight, they often had little time to assemble their own set in time for an 11pm start.

One member of the late show cast explained the difficulties they had in the second week of the panto run:

“There was one time during ‘Attempts on Her Life’ when the show didn’t finish till nearly 10.45, and we actually had to come onstage and had to set up as the panto audience was leaving. Sometimes it was very tight.”

But the cast member added that the panto’s time issues were “the nature of the show – large amounts of audience participation, laughter, and so on – wasn’t their fault.”

Others were not so forgiving. Hugo Lomax, a member of the audience for the matinee on 29th November said: “I missed a lecture because the show overran, despite allowing three hours to see the panto. It was really annoying.”

Responding to the criticism, cast member Jack Gordon-Brown said: “I guess it was a longish script, and there wasn’t a huge amount of leeway time-wise, but I don’t think we deserved to get fined… Generally speaking the longest nights were a result of allowing extra time for laughs, so maybe we were just paying a bit extra for the audience to enjoy themselves a bit more. It was worth paying for in that sense. I have no idea how it affected the late show but hopefully they didn’t get put out too much.”

“Apologies to them if they suffered as a consequence.”

Carly Hilts