Every year, the Bristol Racecourse attracts many theatergoers through its ornate lobby to enjoy the brilliance of one of Britain’s most unique traditions – the pantomime. While watching pantomime is a sure way to get some laughs, some audiences are touched differently by the experience, and leave the theater on St Augustine’s Parade feeling inspired.
They may never be the title character, but pantomime ladies always make sure they steal the show, and bring out a motherly, yet campy, charming charm that radiates through the audience (unless, of course, we’re talking about Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters). ). And it was this unique form of magic that captivated Mom G from a young age.
Britain’s Got Talent viewers may remember for the first time for the show that took place only the other week when Thornbury pantomime lady Mama G took the London Paladium by storm along with seven other crazy and incredible pantomime ladies. Not only was seeing a group of ladies performing together really unusual, but Dame Nation’s performance was the first time that the British art form of pantomime was brought to the BGT stage in the 15-year history of the talent show.
And not only did the audience rise as the ladies began to belt out a checkered rendition of “It’s Raining Men,” but the group managed to win the hearts of the judges, three of whom cheered them on. Although Simon remained seated, he praised the ladies ’performance as“ fun and very unique, ”before Dame Nation walked offstage with four yeses.
Speaking to Bristol Live, Mama G, 37, reflected on when she was taken to pantomime performances across the Southwest, and how one resident Bristol pant lady really inspired her. She said: “I was taken to see my first pants in Bath, Bristol and Plymouth – which are the three big theaters I used to go to when I was little.
“As soon as I saw the pantomime, I knew I had to do just that. I was completely taken aback by how chic they were, how bright they were, and most importantly how ridiculous they were. I was addicted to the sound of laughter from there. “
Audiences can attend pantomimes to see beautiful princesses, watch fairy tales unfold and have some singing, but pantomime ladies are often the most memorable aspect of any performance. After seeing similarities of Patsy Palmer, Derek Nimmo, and Irish singer Dana at the “big, so bright and so glorious” Bristol Hippodrome, Mama G was then taken to the Old Vic as a youngster.
She said: “One day my mother took me to the Old Vic, and we went to see Chris Harris who was the lady who lived there for many years. The Old Vic is so different from the Racecourse because it’s so small and it’s so intimate.; Chris Harris’s relationship with the audience was so motherly and it was as if everyone was his friend.
“When he made the shouts, he would look through every person who booked, I swear it would take 20 minutes. It just felt like you were hugged by him and the rest of the cast. The grandeur of the Hippodrome and the intimacy of the Old Vic created the perfect pantomime experience for me, that’s what I’m trying to achieve. “
Mama G “knew” she had to be a pantomime from a very young age, and attended the North Haven Youth Theater Company before going off to university to study drama. Performing in pantomimes across the country, Mama G made many audiences laugh, but she never experienced anything like the atmosphere at the London Palladium.
She said: “BGT is without a doubt the biggest audience I’ve ever had – the pressure on it is huge. I’ve performed in big theaters before but never with Simon, Amanda, Alesha and David watching, or with hundreds of top quality cameras.
“We only had one shot. We had no idea how it was going to go, so it was definitely the most scary performance I’ve ever done, I think.”
The members of Dame Nation vaguely knew each other through various connections, but a Zoom call during the pandemic united the ladies to form one brilliant unit. After getting a few more people on board and putting together their audition law, Dame Nation was ready to face BGT.
Reflecting on the night of their audition, Mama G said: “We felt it went well because during the performance, when we started singing It’s Raining Men, the audience just jumped up and they all applauded. The atmosphere in the room was huge. – I never felt that way.
“Then David, Amanda and Alesha all applauded us – Simon didn’t. Simon sat there so it made me a little nervous, but when he started talking to us he really enjoyed it.
“It almost felt like he was a little surprised himself that he had never seen a pantomime on the show before. And that was so nice because then I realized we were doing the right thing.”
After winning four, the Dame Nation make it to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent, a huge achievement considering they are the very first big pantomime to perform on the show. Mama G arose: “Knowing that there’s even a chance we could get through to the semi-finals is so exciting.
“We have our fingers crossed, we are touching wood for this weekend and hopefully we will find out if we have succeeded. Because I just think that pant deserves to be seen on a bigger platform and get the respect and glory it deserves, and obviously BGT and the semi-final and even the final, could you imagine, would be the perfect place for it, so I really hope we show it in all its glory.
“It was wonderful to share the stage with other ladies because we’re usually all so lonely and especially the other two ladies from Bristol. I don’t have a Bristolian accent, as you can probably tell, but Courtney and Nick have the most. Beautiful, strong. Bristolian accents.
“I moved away from Bristol, but as soon as I heard them, it was just like being at home. It’s the most beautiful accent in the world, so I’m just so excited that it’s on stage too.”
Let us know if you’ve seen the Dame Nation audition by logging in and leaving a comment below.
Click here for more TV and celebrity news.