Welcome to The Astor for our 2019 show, the badly spelt and poorly acted Bonjur Bonjur.
The show is very loosely based on the sitcom ‘Hello Hello’ and purely by coincidence features some characters you might be familiar with, however this will be denied in court.
The plot, such as it is, tells the almost true fictitious story of what happens when Winston Churchill’s plane crash lands in France during the second world war. We follow his path as he is hidden by the French Resistance in Rennie’s Café and is hunted by the German Nasty party. How it ends depends on how many [if any] of the lines the cast remember in the final act.
The Sergeants Mess Pantomimes were an annual feature of the barracks calendar, dating back to 1944 when it started to raise charitable funds. It ceased to be in 1996 when the government of the day decided to close the Royal marines School of Music in Deal and move it to Portsmouth. Having left many of us former Royal Marines behind, I decided after a lot of thought [and a lot of Port] to reincarnate the tradition. So, seven years ago I wrote our first show called ‘The Wizard who’s odd’, which for reasons best known to yourselves was an instant sell out. Show followed show and over the last six years we have been thrilled and humbled to see the shows sell out.
In keeping with the original traditions of the Sergeants Mess Pantomime, all the proceeds of our shows go to charities. Approximately half of the funds raised go the Royal Marine Charity to help injured Royal Marines and their families. The other half of the funds are split between twenty to thirsty local charities of various kinds, putting something back into the community in which we live and whom buy tickets for the show. Our running total this year will be around £27,100.
Tonight’s show is likely to be as poorly performed, acted and messed up by forgotten lines as in all the previous shows, but that only seems to add to the humour. If you can see past the mistakes and recognise the amount of effort and time the cast members give to make the show a success, then you might also give them some applause and throw some money in the charity buckets on the way out.
Best wishes from Brian Short. Writer, Director and Star of Bonjur Bonjur!
Guests on the last night of the pantomime are shown below.
Lt Col Jon Ridley and his wife, Principal Director of Music, Royal Marines.
Lt Col Jason Burcham and his wife, Royal Marines Band Service.
Jonathan Ball and his wife, CEO Royal Marines Charity.
RSM, WO1 Dave Mason, Corps RSM.
W01 Simon Tripp, Corps Bandmaster.
WO2 Ian Davis and guest.
Councillor Nicholas Tomaszewsk and his wife, Mayor of Deal
There were two presentations, a cheque for £10,000 to the Royal Marines Charity and a cheque for £500 towards the fund for a new Royal Marines Museum.