THERE are many things reporter TEGAN CHAPMAN is prepared to do in the name of journalism, so when it was suggested that she be transformed into an ugly sister, it seemed like an opportunity too good to miss.
PANTOMIMES are all about audience participation, and thanks to staff at the Playhouse Whitley Bay, I got the chance to try out for the role of an ugly sister.
Roping in News Guardian photographer Gemma Marriner to be my (even uglier) sister, we set off to meet Danny Jay and David Drewitt, better known as Tulisa and Cheryl, who are starring in the theatre’s production of Cinderella this Christmas, for our transformation.
With skyscraper heels, more sequins than you can shake a stick at, and hair bigger than Marge Simpson’s, the duo set to work on our makeover.
In a few short minutes I was transformed from ‘normal’ (this is arguable) to a clown, then eventually to my alter ego.
I have always been a firm believer in the old adage less is more, but for a panto dame more is most certainly more, and layers of foundation and lurid eye makeup was applied, some wonderfully high arched eyebrows that put my own to shame, and the pièce de résistance of the wonderful trout pout.
David Drewitt joked that we just looked ready for a night out “down Whitley” and after spending half an hour getting my make-up applied – it takes a full hour for Tulisa and Cheryl – I was then shown their vast array of potential outfits to wear, from corsets and dresses to sleepwear – more than I have in my own wardrobe!
I was given a lovely Hairspray-style candyfloss pink wig with a matching polkadot dress to complete my look and transform me into a fluffy and kind-looking ugly sister, whereas Gemma – in her own words – looked like evil personified with plenty of Cruella Deville thrown in – and that was even before the wig was applied!
The four ugly sisters then took to the empty stage for a lesson in pouting before it was back to the dressing room for plenty of face wipes.
It’s been a good few years since I was on the stage, but the smell of greasepaint and the heat of the lights brought all those memories flooding back.
Being up on stage, and seeing all the work that goes into creating the ugly sisters, I now can’t wait to see the professionals in action when I see the panto on Friday.
Cinderella, also featuring Hollyoaks star and Dancing on Ice contestant Jennifer Metcalfe as Cinderella, Any Dream Will Do runner-up Keith Jack as the Prince, Wallsend comic Steve Walls as Buttons and two real Shetland ponies, is at the Playhouse Whitley Bay until Sunday, January 6.
Tickets priced from £7 to £16 are available by calling the box office on 0844 277 2771 or visiting www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk