The Redditch Players pantomime has been given an added boost this year by the surprise booking of the Italian ex-Premier.
Production Manager Leon Stirling takes up the story.
"We were looking for something unique, to make our production stand out from the crowd. It was suggested - rather humourously at first - we should try and find a high profile 'resting' politician willing to have a shot in panto - Lord knows there are enough of them floating around at the moment"
Initial thoughts centred on the UK : Tony Blair was ruled out as too sanctimonious and his fee "too unrealistic, although several Middle Eastern countries had offered assistance 'just to see the back of him'". Gordon Brown was considered too dour, and Anne Widecombe was already committed to her One-Woman Comedy Standup Tour.
"It was then we thought of Silvio Berlusconi : We've all become aware in the last few months that Mr. Berlusconi has a flair for comedic surrealism, and can cut a somewhat unique sartorial dash and he does have a bit of time on his hands now - so , why not ?"
Mr. Stirling continued, describing how that had pitched the role to the ex-premier -
"At first he was a little reticent, not knowing much about the pantomime form. However, once we explained about the levels of crudity, innuendo and cross-dressing he became much more enthusiastic. He seemed particularly animated by the idea of the principal boy, and it was a done deal once we mentioned the girls of the chorus.
It's good to have him on board, and we have high hopes that his Madame Bunga-Bunga could be a Dame of almost Bigginsesque stature"
Mr. Stirling indicated that contract negotiations were well under way, and that the theatre group and Mr. Berlusconi's agents were in discussions regarding the dressing room riders.
He confided that the company had managed to negotiate down from seven to three prostitutes, but had drawn the line at the personal fluffer.
"After all, when all's said and done, we are a family show"