Kay loves pantomime as much as the next man. Especially if the next man is wearing a pink wig and false eyelashes. But, once upon a time, tired of the same old stories, she thought a change was overdue, and decided to write a panto of her own. The brief was clear: a hilarious, original story which retained the best traditional panto elements. How hard could that be? Actually, it was quite hard since you ask, but just a few short years later, ta-da! Hood-the Panto was born.
Understandably, Kay is very proud of this show, which more than meets the original brief. Hood is recognisable as a panto: populated with fairy tale characters, cross-dressing and a strong moral message but cranked up several notches. The plot is complex and the humour is sophisticated and modern enough to entertain the grown-ups with plenty of clowning and wonderment to delight the younger audience. It was performed in 2015 to rave reviews. You can read about it here.
High on the success of Hood, and forgetting the teeth-clenched muttering of "never again" during a particularly fraught dress rehearsal (be honest- is there any other kind?) Kay began to write CAMP in January 2016 to be performed in December the following year.
CAMP is a further step removed from traditional scripts. Set in 1970s Britain, you would be right to expect flares, big hair and a cracking glam-rock soundtrack, but you might not expect a talking panda. It's a modern-vintage, original high-energy rom-com, magical mystery crime caper, jukebox-musical panto. It IS a panto- ask Dame Lulu- but the holiday setting means it could be performed all year round. CAMP played in December 2017 for five performances. After the matinee, a young audience member explained why he thought this was the best panto he had ever seen: quite simply, because he didn't know how it was going to end. Read more here.
Happily, the end of one play usually signals the beginning of another. Kay delivered PLOT, a one-act festival-length play in June 2019 and is currently developing new work. For updates on work in progress and random comedy musings, check out Kay's blog which isn't awkwardly written in the third person.
**Kay was told to "find some photos where you're not goofing around" but this proved too difficult.
"I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode." Angela Carter
I remember aged 14, listening to Monty Python Live at Drury Lane and Billy Connolly’s live album Atlantic Bridge on headphones so that my parents couldn’t overhear the swear words. I loved the daring of Python, the escalating language of the parrot sketch, the subversive lyrics of The Lumberjack Song, the sense of danger heightened by the live performance, sharing the reaction of the audience. Learning by heart and repeating the sketches with my friends taught me about rhythm and timing, writing and performance. Making it sound spontaneous and off the cuff is my Holy Grail.
I had never heard anyone like Billy Connolly- later I would appreciate his importance and iconic status but at the time I simply thought he was pee-in-your-pants hilarious (and still do). Filthy. Real. Warm. I also loved the comic parodies of popular songs which has become a feature in my own writing.
Other influences? Victoria Wood, obviously. French & Saunders. Lily Savage, the ‘tart with a heart’, her persona has certainly shaped my vision of a pantomime dame. Jane Austen. Angela Carter. Most recently, Emma Rice’s dazzling production of Wise Children has encouraged me to be bolder, take risks and always try and exceed my own expectations.
"Unsure which panto to do? why not do them all in this quick witted & fast paced panto that gives you enough of each one to keep you wanting more." - Ben T.
I have been involved with Kay’s plays as an actor and as part of the production team.
Kay’s writing is original, witty and clever, using relatable characters and modern language. The pantomimes were suitable for a large cast of both adults and children. Everyone involved enjoyed the process from first rehearsal to closing night. The shows were well received by audiences of all ages. Kay reworked some popular songs to suit the character and scene and these gave a unique twist. - Kim N
“Honestly don't think I've ever had an audience reaction like that before for any other show I've done; definitely the best feeling in the world! “ - Katy R.