Our reporter becomes pantomime dame for the day

The Bolton News: Reporter with The Bolton News, Liam Thorp dressed as a panto dame, with left, Pete Lindup who plays Dame Tilly in Jack and The Beanstalk Reporter with The Bolton News, Liam Thorp dressed as a panto dame, with left, Pete Lindup who plays Dame Tilly in Jack and The Beanstalk

ACCORDING to the song, there’s nothing like a dame — and after I was invited to become a panto dame for the day at Bolton’s Albert Halls, I can confirm it was certainly a unique exper-ience.

Now, confession time, this was not the first occasion that I have put on a bit of lippy and thrown on a frock — but enough about my Saturday night cabaret commitments.

In the Jack and the Beanstalk dressing I felt that peculiar combination of intrigue, excitement and outright fear.

I met Pete Lindup — Dame Tilly — and we set about applying our extravagant make-up, a process that came very naturally to me, apparently.

“This is my 24th panto,” said the seasoned campaigner. “I love it just as much as when I first started.”

Pete’s character is Jack’s mother. Waterloo Road’s Ben Ryan-Davies plays Jack, and his brother Stewie, is played by the evergreen Stu Francis.

Stu said he loves playing in front of a Bolton audience. “The people here are great — they are among the best to perform to, it is a hell of an adrenaline rush getting out on that stage.”

Under Dame Pete’s guidance, we applied a layer of foundation that left me looking like an extra from The Only Way is Essex. The only issue was my Movember moustache.

Next we slapped on vibrant pink blusher, before a fulsome helping of eyeliner was applied “to bring out my eyes.” After a bit of lipstick, it was on with my frock and the accompanying hat and wig.

Pete was clearly impressed by my transformation, adding: “You’re wasted doing that journalism nonsense, you need to come and join us.”

There was another stumbling block when no one could locate any women’s shoes to fit my size 11 clodhoppers, but I was happy to proceed barefoot, like a true professional.

While I am not quite ready to ditch the day job yet, I felt right at home on stage with the cast — even getting to take part in a short scene with the legendary Mr Francis.

However, to the more honest viewers, my performance may have seemed about as wooden as the stage itself. Jack and the Beanstalk runs until January 5.

For tickets call 01204 334400.

l For a video of Liam becoming a dame for a day visit theboltonnews.co.uk

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