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[The Guardian] Oh, yes she is: panto dames through the decades – in pictures
by The Guardian « on: December 21, 2020, 07:04:03 AM »




Oh, yes she is: panto dames through the decades – in pictures

It can be a role as career-defining as Hamlet. Dan Leno, who starred at Drury Lane every Christmas from 1888 to 1904, was the first great pantomime dame: a tiny ex-clog dancer with a top-knot. George Robey took up the, um, baton – “Many’s the squeeze she’s had of my blue bag on washing day” – to be followed by, among others, Berwick Kaler, who laid down his ginger wig and Wagon Wheel biscuits in 2019 after 40 years as York’s resident dame. Ian McKellen’s Widow Twankey – curlers and ostrich feathers – hummed I Enjoy Being a Girl; Clive Rowe yearly brought startling headgear to Hackney Empire – and warmth, with his gloriously rippling voice. Meanwhile, the part has had its own spin-off series in Dame Edna Everage. Who needs a show when you can just have a dame?

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