1987

Babes In The Wood

 

Here is an article that Forbes Masson and I wrote for some Scottish publication that I can't remember now about Babes in the Wood.

The collie and the Carnoustie question

How did we write the panto?
Well, we got a piece of paper and pen.
That’s not funny.
I know, but it used up another ten words.
Oh good.
Seriously though, in May of this year, Michael Boyd asked us to find a well-known panto and adapt it to suit the somewhat limited talents of Victor and Barry.  (They’d very kingly agreed to star in it without seeing the script beforehand).
We eventually settled on Babes in the Wood, although it wasn’t really our first choice.  We really wanted to do Jack and the Beanstalk, except Barry is afraid of heights, and Victor has a goose phobia.
They also both felt it was a little height-ist.
To cut a long story short…
What we’ve gone for is a good old-fashioned adventure story, which I think will excite both children and adults alike.
We had a great time working out all the different characters.  Apart from Victor and Barry, there’s a mad scientist, a principle collie, a magic seagull, a hippy chicken as well as Mummy, Daddy and home help.  The whole thing is set in that magical, faraway place… Kelvinside, and the tale begins on Christmas Eve.
It’s a very Cosmopolitan panto.  That’s not really due to its content, more with the exotic locations in which it was conceived.  They include: the beach in Carnoustie, Falkirk, Glasgow, Shetland, London, a chalet in St Andrews (which incidentally was totally devoid of light, heat, and water), and lots of trains.  The last few words were penned in an alcohol-induced haze in a kitchen in, wait for it, Carnoustie.
Why does Carnoustie feature so prominently in the creation of this epic, you may ask.  Well it’s none of your business. 
The first day of rehearsals was really scary.  The whole staff of the Tron… directors, stage managers, designers… and worst of all, actors, all sitting round reading our script for the first time.
Normally, the only performers we write for are Victor and Barry, so we’re not really used to intelligent, artistic criticism of out work.
Anyway, there’s no going back now.  The handouts are printed, the seats are selling fast, we open on December 9 and we’d like to crawl into a little corner and come out in January when it’s all over.
Never mind how we write the panto… why did we??

 

Babes in the Wood had traditional elements but letting Victor and Barry loose on anything changed the landscape somewhat.  It was set in Glasgow's west end, with Victor and Barry playing themselves as baby brothers, in blue and pink (I think I may have been the pink one). The show also included an evil villain who hated animals called Vivy Section (geddit?) and the Good Fairy character was a seagull who also doubled as Victor and Barry's mother who had left the home after a messy divorce.

The end song, Dreams Can Come True was included in Victor and Barry's album Hear Victor and Barry and Faint released in 1998 on Jammy Records.

This video is of us promoting the show on Glen Michael's Cavalcade.  Glen is a legend, btw.