Pamela Anderson rubs Blessed up the wrong way
Ex-Baywatch star gets a warm welcome from critics - but not from her veteran co-star
Wearing a red Lycra bathing suit - a nod to her glory days in Baywatch - sheer stockings and a chiffon cape encrusted with Swarovski crystals, the American actress Pamela Anderson made her London debut in pantomime last night, playing the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin.
At a reported fee of £50,000 a week for her twice-a-day two-week run, she has apparently caused a run on tickets at the New Wimbledon Theatre among fathers not normally so enthusiastic about panto.
Judging by her first performance, even though she spends barely 15 minutes on stage, the 42-year-old Californian makes a considerable impact - not least on the already crude script.
When she knelt before Aladdin in the cave, inquiring, "Master, what is your wish?" the response from the stalls was immediate: "Tell her to rub your wick!"
Critics have done their best to be kind [see below] - which is more than be said of her co-star Brian Blessed, who plays the evil Abanazar. Arriving at the theatre yesterday, the Daily Mirror reporter claims to have found the veteran actor "lurching" against a wall, and disclaiming:
"Pamela fucking Anderson? I wouldn't touch her with yours...
"I've starred alongside Sophia Loren... [True - it was in the 1972 movie 'Man of La Mancha' - ed.]
"What the fuck is all that about Pamela Anderson? What is all that about?"
A spokesman for Anderson said later: "Pamela is profoundly honoured to be working alongside a legendary actor of the reputation and stature of Brian Blessed. She has no response to any alleged comments he may or may not have made."
Blessed's outburst is thought to have been sparked by Anderson's failure to attend rehearsals as a result of which she missed her first two performances. Ruby Wax, Paul O'Grady and Anita Dobson, all of whom are due to take over the role of Genie after Anderson's scheduled departure on December 27, are duly warned.
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
Adam Sherwin, the Times: "More Playboy Mansion than panto, [Anderson] introduced herself to the audience as the 'most downloaded genie ever'... Although she did not fluff any lines, she delivered most at such a rapid-fire pace in her California drawl that her audience missed some of the punchlines."
Quentin Letts, the Daily Mail: "Miss Anderson is as Californian as they come. Panto could not be more British. So did they mesh? Did they hit it off? Did they bounce as one? Not quite. But it didn't really matter... Her presence, along with a slew of filthy double entendres, takes panto to its most democratic extreme."
Charles Spencer, the Daily Telegraph: "Her squeaky voice is a pale imitation of Marilyn Monroe's, and no one, or at least no one in their right mind, could describe her as a good actress. But I rather fell for the way her initial sultry pouts gave way to innocent grins of pleasure at appearing in so daft a show."
Fiona Cummins, the Daily Mirror: "If anyone yelled out, 'It's behind you!' they might have been referring to Pammie's once golden career." ·