Mustard TV’s Helen McDermott: I’ll put my foot down on stage - but not on the road

Helen McDermott starred in this years Gorleston pantomime Aladdin Picture: Archant

Helen McDermott starred in this years Gorleston pantomime Aladdin Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

When the curtain came down on Aladdin it was the end of five good weeks strutting the stage at Gorleston Pavilion. The cast were lovely, very professional and a pleasure to work with.

The audiences, as ever, were generous with their laughter, eager to join in the fun.

Well, most of them were. I'm afraid a new menace has begun to worm its way into the theatre: the mobile phone, or more accurately, the loutish owners who have no regard for the show or the rest of the audience.

There are notices, and announcements: 'Filming and use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited'.

We had several young dancers in the cast, and there are firm rules about what's permitted.


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We have to complete endless forms to satisfy health and safety conditions and local authority regulations.

But, of course, some people clearly couldn't accept that the message might apply to them.

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More than once we were distracted on stage by the bright light of a camera-phone filming us.

So I stopped the action and shouted at the offenders to turn it off.

I'm sorry to say that one of the worst and most persistent was in a school party.

But what do you make of this?

After I'd yelled at him for the second time one of the teachers, a responsible adult supposedly in charge, went and complained, calling me a bully.

I really must get myself a more powerful wand for next time.

The spoilsport phone pests slightly marred enjoyment of this year's show, and so did – wait for it – the Acle Straight.

The debate even penetrated the wonderland of Aladdin.

To dual it or not; more signs; average speed cameras?

One thing I learned was that I'm a 'plonka' (sic), at least according to one thoughtful chap, taking time off from hanging a plastic deodorant fir tree in his windscreen to share his wisdom.

In his opinion, my sort, when we drive calmly along the straight (and narrow) at 40 to 50 miles an hour (taking a mere nine minutes from Acle to Great Yarmouth), we 'force impatient drivers to overtake'.

I drive a boring car and probably look like small bore at the wheel, but at least I'm a safe small bore, and I'm not forcing anybody.

Impatience should be curbed, and if it can't be curbed then you shouldn't be behind the wheel.

Having the trip daily from Norwich to Gorleston, I can state firmly that there's nothing wrong with the Acle Straight, but there's a good deal wrong with some of the drivers on it, stupid, reckless and impatient.

They're arrogant, too, believing that they have a right to drive at any speed they choose, while denying us 'plonkas', licensed and legal, the right to drive at our chosen speed.

I reckon that, unchecked, the pantomime phone pest might well turn into one; he's got the right mindset.

The Acle Straight might be dualled one day.

Whether it is or not, we 'plonkas' must stick together, resolutely refusing to put our foot down.

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