Putting the PR in to pantomime

Villains and Dames

Villains and Dames

As a result of a deprived childhood, I can’t recall ever having attended a pantomime as a young ‘un.

It wasn’t top of the festive “to do” list in Wester Hailes during the Thatcherite 80s (aw naw it effin wisnae!).

However, now it has become something of an annual event in the Douglas household. This year it was Aladdin at the King’s Theatre with Allan Stewart and Grant Stott hamming it up furiously.

My daughter thinks Widow Twankey is a woman and I’m not sure when (if ever) the time will be right to explain the whole cross dressing thing to her.

While the show was very, very funny, it was a bit close to the bone at times with its adult humour, though thankfully most of the near-the-knuckle stuff seemed to pass over the heads of the assembled 4-10 year olds (indeed the Daily Telegraph review, which can be read here, marked down this show because of its overly saucy content).

Other highlights were a woman falling off a balcony while seeking an autograph; a set of huge inflatable breasts; stunning 3D visual effects (anybody who thought 3D was an SFX failure best left behind in the 60s, 70s or 80s should see this); consistently high-quality and hilarious ad-libbing and a quartet of powerfully-built female gymnasts, poured into unbelievably tight rubber/leather body suits.

 All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and amusing romp and a big hit with the vast, serried ranks of the in laws who were in attendance. My missus invited every member of her extended family and while the youngest (aged four) was a bit scared, the rest (aged from six to eighty) thought it was a hoot.

However, as a vigilant and conscientious PR man I want to point out that I wasn’t simply guffawing at this slice of festive flim flam. Naw,  I still managed to notice and appreciate a clever PR message woven into the performance.

During one brief interlude Widow Twankey included a message for the (many) pensioners in the audience, reminding them of the dangers posed by bogus workmen and advising them to always ask visitors for ID.

That was a smart piece of PR thinking dreamt up by the Scottish Water press office, with a bit of help from the media team at Lothian and Borders Police. As well as being a really clever idea, it also earned various snippets of media coverage, including this piece (click here) in The Herald.  So big up to the man behind this creative stunt, big Chris Hodge in the Scottish Water press office.

See,  that’s just me. I never stop working … Oh no I don’t!

FOOTLIGHTS FOOTNOTE – As an aside, click here to read the very amusing (and typically catty) comments posted by Evening News readers after Allan Stewart was fined for driving while using a mobile phone. Then click here to read miffed Allan’s huffy response. Brilliant.

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