If we told you that a group of ladies (and three gentlemen) met at the Hostess to watch a grown man take his clothes off, you wouln’t believe us ‘Oh yes we would’ – ‘Oh no you wouldn’t’. But this man was no ordinary man and his clothes were not ordinary clothes.
Richard Westcott looks like your best friend’s cheeky grandfather. You feel as if you have known him for years and there is an unmistakable twinkle in his eye when he speaks. Given half a chance, many a tale Richard could tell you because he is a Pantomime Dame.
President Gloria opened the afternoon by thanking everyone for coming and explaining a little of why we were all gathered to hear Richard speak. The NSPCC are spending a significant sum of money to educate and protect children from abuse; today was about helping to support a worthy cause.
Gloria is a volunteer for Childline School Service and goes in to schools to talk to children from the age of 7, about all forms of abuse. We have all heard terrible stories and through the media, we are all aware of the historic abuse suffered by vulnerable children. By visiting the schools, the Childline School Service volunteers aim to counsel, guide and help those who may need the specialist services this charity can offer. The afternoon fund raiser was held to support this worthy cause and is Gloria’s chosen charity for her year as Inner Wheel President.
Firstly, Richard took his clothes off, as we stated earlier… but it was in the best possible taste! As he changed out of his shirt and tie, he asked how many times we ladies had gotten dressed to go out first and then put our make up on; only to find we have foundation or mascara on our finest garments. In a plain white t-shirt, Richard set to applying his foundation. After such a long time in the business, he said his foundation of choice was now Polyfiller. He gave out some helpful hints about foundation application, blending, blusher and why using a brush to apply lipstick is essential; the ladies were captivated and the audience watched on as the change began.
Around 70 ladies and three brave husbands attended the event and were thoroughly engaged with the pantomime spirit.
Richard explained that he uses waterbased make up rather than the waxy kind. Essentially after performing 2-3 times a day, 6 days a week in Panto, the quicker you can get to the pub the better.
No ladies wardrobe is complete without a full range of accessories, and a Dame’s wardrobe is no different. This is just a small sample of the hats, jewellery and shimmery shoes that a Dame must have. Richard explained that his favourite earrings are the Christmas reindeers, but over the years they have suffered from wear and tear and one of them had lost an eye. He didn’t know when or where he’d lost it, he simply had no eye-dear!!!
Richard is full of one liners and whitty banter. The audience thoroughly enjoyed being part of the show with polite heckling and jokes being shared between the stage and the guests. All in good humour and adding to the fun filled atmosphere in the room. He even got President Gloria up on stage to assist him getting dressed.
Once Dame Matilda Madonna Kylie Trott was dressed, and Richard no more, we were treated to a snippet of pantomime humour from Jack and the Beanstalk.
For the finale Dame Matilda felt she needed to be glamorous and changed in to something a little ‘more comfortable’, ably assisted again by President Gloria. A dress change took precisely 60 seconds as recorded by Jenny from Brisbane. We were then presented with the Dame of Hearts and treated to a traditional panto song ‘tiddly winky winky winky woo’, followed by the audience participation and sing a long, before Richard and Dame Matilda bid us all farwell.
The hostess provided the audience with a lovely cream tea, serving individual finger sandwiches, a salmon and cream cheese blini, banana bread, minature scone cream and jam, a profiterole and a fruit kebab. It was a lovely afternoon, but our photographer didn’t manage to capture the lunch, it was too delicious and was eaten before we realised we should have taken it’s photograph.
President Gloria held a raffle and thanked everyone for attending and thanked Richard for a wonderful afternoon.