Luci LaBang is a pantomime dame, beguiled by her co-star, Luda, a young man playing a young woman playing the show’s Principal Boy. Encouraged by the perfectionist director, Luci takes Luda under her wing to teach her the tricks of the trade. But dark forces are underfoot – is Luda victim or villain?
I wouldn’t have expected to be so sucked into the account of the pantomime, a version of Aladdin crossed with the Phantom of the Opera. Luci is an entertaining narrator, although she does tend to ramble and I did occasionally wonder if I’d lost the thread.
Thanks to publishers Europa editions for my advance copy. If you fancy reading something different, why not give it a try?
I must admit that I envy Luci her confidence, both in her unconventional identity and in her ability to entertain. But she’s influenced my response to this week’s flash fiction challenge. My 99-word story is also inspired by a marvellous choral singing workshop I attended last weekend with an amazingly confidence-boosting teacher who believes that the enemy of musicmaking is the fear of getting it wrong.
Little Miss Flawless went first. The piece was tough and, like her teacher watching from the wings, her face was all frown. She stared at the score which shook in her hands. But her effort paid off: her performance was error-free.
Little Miss Playful came next. In hand-me-down clothes, she’d come to the theatre alone. The crotchet and quavers were hieroglyphics to Little Miss Playful and she mis-read most of the words. But she fixed her ears on the pianist, her eyes on the director and beamed as she blasted out the song.
Little Miss Playful got the part.