Dr Peter Moore: I’ve often wondered what happened to the good fairy

Cinderella has been rescheduled for next Christmas at the Princess Theatre, Torquay

Cinderella has been rescheduled for next Christmas at the Princess Theatre, Torquay - Credit: Archant

One of the many casualties of Covid is the pantomime. Sadly, no one can say ‘oh, no, it’s not’.

Cinderella cannot go to the ball. It’s cancelled. Jack could still climb the beanstalk provided he stays two meters from the giant, which is probably sensible anyway. As the giant can still smell the blood of an Englishman it is unlikely he has Covid.

If Robin Hood is with Maid Marion, Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet he can only see one more merry man as long as they are all outdoors. It might be easier if the whole band of merry men could be in his support bubble.

Both Sherwood Forest and Nottingham are in tier three so the Sherriff can’t have his archery competition even though it is a sporting activity outdoors. There must be no villagers and knights.

When robbing from the rich to give to the poor Robin must keep two meters away and use hand sanitiser which will prove difficult. At least he will wear a mask which he probably does anyway when robbing the rich.

When Dick Wittington becomes Lord Mayor of London he will have to talk to the people via Zoom.

Robinson Crusoe should not have a problem provided Man Friday is in his bubble. If the Isle of Wight and Cornwall can be in tier one so can his desert island, although it may not be relevant as the island does not have any pubs or restaurants to reopen.

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I loved going to the pantomime when I was young. It was my first experience of live theatre.

Later on, I took my children and now I take grandchildren. But I have only been once professionally, luckily not as a performer.

Not long after I arrived in Torquay, I was called to the Princess Theatre during the panto season.

During Jack and the Beanstalk the good fairy had danced off the stage wheezing. It seemed the carbon dioxide mist had triggered an asthma attack.

I was shown into the women’s dressing room which I found slightly off putting. As I was dealing with a case of asthma, young women were running around in various states of undress. Luckily, I did not see the pantomime dame.

The other problem I faced was trying to listen to her chest while above my head I could hear large stamping feet and the words ‘Fee fo fie fum’.

After I had managed to sort out her asthma I was asked to talk to the director. Here there was an ethical problem. I should not discuss confidential medical matters with an employer, even when the patient is a good fairy.

Luckily, she gave permission and, with her standing beside me no longer wheezing we discussed how her magic dance scene could be adapted, not exactly my area of expertise.

But there was a more serious problem she will need to discuss with her doctor when she gets home.

As a new young professional dancer with a career ahead of her will the asthma make some shows difficult? Showbiz is highly competitive without wheezing every time she has a dance routine with CO2 smoke.

Even in the 1980s there were plenty of preventive asthma treatments and so she should be alright, but she will probably need regular medication.

I could reassure her that some professional footballers and Olympic athletes have well controlled asthma so a good fairy should be able to cope.

It was too early to quote David Beckham, Paula Radcliffe or Mo Farah whom all have asthma.

I have often wondered what happened to the good fairy. Is she now on Strictly? I hope she had a successful career, but I know a large number of young hopeful dancers and actors never become stars.

I am amazed at the quality of the professional touring shows we have at our local theatres. There are many hugely talented people who never become household names.

Let’s hope we can see them in 2021. Will the panto be cancelled next year? I hope the answer is ‘Oh, no, it’s not’.