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The Independent Culture
Lana Turner was discovered sipping a milkshake at Schwab's soda fountain, asked if she wanted to be a movie star, and the rest is history.

To be discovered picking through the thermal vests in Knickerbox doesn't have quite the same ring, but Christmas is a time for dreams to come true. For today is the last day of Pantomania at the Trocadero Centre. Every afternoon since December 11, a team of panto pros have been seeking out members of the public to help them star in a pantomime on a purpose-built stage. All performances are videotaped and transmitted live on the Trocadero's video screens. When I went to check it out, there seemed to be a lack of both panto pros and wannabe stars. The only hint of a theatrical happening was a set shaped like a pumpkin. Pantos are not my idea of a good time anyway. And, as a final clincher, it seems that Jim Davidson, Ronnie Corbett and Jimmy Tarbuck are in on the act. However, it is all for charity - The Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund.

As the impromptu panto did not signpost my own particular road to glory, I wandered round the Trocadero instead. Unpleasant. It has 'Alien War' games where you pretend you're Sigourney Weaver and shoot latex aliens. There are clothes stores where you can buy plastic and leopardskin jeans, and boots with leopardskin buckles. The sweet shop is one of the vilest outlets known to man. Remember how Roald Dahl used to describe his childhood - eating lemon drops that fizzed on the tongue, gobstoppers that took concentration, cola cubes that enveloped the senses? It ain't like that.

Pantomania continues today at the Trocadero Centre, 13 Coventry Street, London W1

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