As Birmingham waits to see whether or not it will receive the title of being UK City of Culture 2013, we have already received a much more important honour, and that’s having Joan Collins booked to perform pantomime at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Detractors and cynics say that panto is just giving losing contestants in reality TV shows, and once popular light entertainment stars a reason to exist. All I can say to that is, Goldilocks.
Pantomime, like all art (and it is art), has its low and high forms. Low form is the excruciatingly embarrassing spectacle of seeing sub-lebrities trying extremely hard to be liked by an indifferent audience. Truly great and engaging pantomime not only brings out the best actors, but also the best out of an audience.
Pantomime allows families to leave their homes and spend time together whilst being lavished with colourful productions. It gives theatres the opportunity to fill auditoriums day after day, night after night and create much needed income. It is also a chance for renowned actors to get a little closer to a wider audience.
So Joan Collins starring in Dick Whitington ought to be seen as a very important part of Birmingham’s cultural entity. She is an actress and performer who epitomises the classic notion of glamour; elegant, timeless and just the right amount of aloofness. In an age of ubiquitous and mercenary performers, the fact that a selective star like Joan Collins has selected Birmingham means that this city has plenty to offer to people who like to spend time on the French Riviera.
BiNS managed to make it to a press conference and had the opportunity to ask the very first question: