Pantomime season begins this year in the Harold Pinter Theatre (previously the Royal Comedy Theatre) with their annual charitable pantomime; an outrageously entertaining show to benefit The Screw Cancer Charity, founded by designer William Yeoward, who left this world in June.
London’s gamest interior designers teamed up with theatrical professionals to realise a flamboyant version of Jack and the Blingstalk, about a designer village (Chelsea Harbour: the hub of London’s interior design services) held hostage by Giant Crusher, who keeps raising their taxes to feed himself. The schoolboy hero Jack is mentored by his fairy godmother Fairy Festoon and encouraged to climb up the beanstalk to rescue his love the Princess Pearl, he vows to save her from the jaws of the giant. A cast of the capital’s top designers and decorators were wittily renamed with puns from the interior decorating world, Mr Matt Finnish—Miss Cabriole Leg—Miss Shabby Chic etc. and all hammed up their parts accordingly. The script written by actor and playwright Andrew Pollard was punctuated with predictably bawdy jokes, and the soundtrack rewrote the lyrics of many popular tunes to suit the story.The set decoration made the maximum of the prints and textiles offered by international designer names in furnishings manufacturing.
The extravagant costumes were designed by UK’s top fashion names, Jasper Conran, Allegra Hicks, Thomas Starzewski and Bruce Oldfield, all made by their couture craftsmen from silks, damasks and passementeries usually found in curtains and on upholstery. Jack’s larger than life mother, played by Tim Gosling famous for his exquisite bespoke furniture and interiors, had multiple costumes changes executed in beat the clock time and in staggeringly high heels, it was evident Gosling enjoyed dressing up.
All the designers and theatrical staff gave their talents to support Screw Cancer;the production period was demanding for the enthusiastic designers, who had to fit in singing and dancing rehearsals around their day jobs.
The audience learned that 1,000 people in UK are diagnosed with cancer every day. A diagnosis of cancer can leave people very confused and more than a little frightened—uncertain of what will happen next, often the vital information people need is not all in one place. Yeoward’s free Screw Cancer App is designed to provide people with clarity and a place on Apple and Android cell phones where they can discover and store information specific to them and their treatment.
There was a fundraising gala dinner at The Banqueting House following the performance, guests dined in the magnificent Inigo Jones palace in Whitehall that was completed in 1622 under nine Peter Paul Rubens ceiling paintings, it is hoped the joint events raised £300,000.There are over 200 types of cancer, the Screw Cancer App has chosen colorectal cancer for its launch and hopes to move on to breast cancer in 2020.