DENZIL HOWSON ARCHIVE
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1961

The Magic Mirror

Denzil Howson chose to set the 1961 Christmas Pantomime, “The Magic Mirror”, in a studio re-creation of Petticoat Lane in London, which he had visited in 1952. The production was a significant step up in sophistication, with more elaborate sets, original songs and music, pre-recording of songs prior to videotaping, and the use of professional actors from outside the GTV9 stable.

Synopsis

Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee arrive in Petticoat Lane, London, where they befriend Mary, a flower girl, and Mary’s domineering Uncle Joe. Mary and Gerry meet an old magician who gives them a Magic Mirror, which he promises will make their dreams come true. Mary drifts off to sleep dreaming of being a fine lady in the Royal Court. The next morning, Mary reports to the house of the Duke and Duchess Ratbaggy where Uncle Joe has found her a job as a servant girl. She learns that one of her tasks is weighing the Duke’s treasure. When Mary tells Uncle Joe about the Duke’s treasure, Uncle Joe plots to steal it. Ron and Gerry try to warn Mary, but she takes offence and shuns them. Despondent, Ron and Gerry plan to leave London. When Mary discovers her uncle’s dishonest plans she returns to Petticoat Lane where she encounters Ron and Gerry, who are about to depart. She asks their forgiveness for not listening to their warning. The trio encounter the magician again and he gives Mary a locket which he says is rightfully hers. The Duke and Duchess Ratbaggy arrive enquiring why Mary has not arrived for work. The Duchess asks Mary to show her the locket she is wearing. The Duchess recognises the photo inside the locket as her daughter who has been missing for twelve years. Uncle Joe admits that he is not really Mary’s uncle and that he was given Mary as a baby. The Duchess realises Mary is her daughter and invites them all to the Royal Palace where Mary and Gerry Gee are married and Ron and Joe are promoted to being Odd Job Men.

Credits

Cast
Ron BlaskettLondon tinker
Gerry GeeLondon waif
Patti McGrathMary, a London flower girl
Ernie CarrollDuke Ratbaggy
Rosie SturgessDuchess Ratbaggy
Frank RichUncle Joe
Alan RoweChestnut vendor
Geoff CorkeKing Corky
Susan-Gaye AndersonNoble lady of the period
Jack BowkettCockney apple vendor
Alf GertlerOld beggar and Court Magician
Bren MageeCourt Crier
Dancers and Chorus
The Leonard Brothers
The Junior Nines ballet
The Royal Octet chorus
The May Downs Dancers
Musical Numbers
Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner
All My Life I’ve Wanted to be a Barrow Boy
Dreaming is For You (original)
La Violetera
Uncle Joe (original)
Highness With Shyness (original)
A Foggy Day in London Town
Chestnut Vendor Song (Alan Rowe)
Wedding of the Rose
Odd Job Men (original)
Cheerio Song
Music
Margot SheridanPiano and Musical Director
Laurie WilsonOrgan
Billy HunterDrums
Crew
Valmai EnnorChoreography
Margot SheridanMusical Direction
Elizabeth WilkinsonMakeup
Stephen KellerSettings Designer
Kevin SoutheyTechnical Director
Doug WoodingLighting
Des FordAudio
Garry StewartFloor Manager
Russell SeftonDirector
Denzil HowsonWriter and Producer
Production Details
Duration50 minutes
Production DateRecorded to videotape on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December 1961.
LocationStudio One, GTV9, Melbourne.