Norwich Theatre Royal is about to play host panto season once again, so I go behind the scenes at the rehearsals for Aladdin and speak to the cast and crew
December has arrived and the countdown to Christmas is well underway – oh yes it is! – so there’s no better time to look at one of my favourite festive traditions – pantomime.
I was recently invited to take a sneak peek at the rehearsals for Aladdin, which opens at Norwich Theatre Royal on 12 December.
Cast, dancers and crew have been learning lines, practising routines and setting up the scenery for weeks now, so it was an exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes.
Taking the lead role of Aladdin is Steven Roberts (Hollyoaks and The History Boys), who is no stranger to Norwich. While we were chatting he told me: “I remember coming [to Norwich] from Lowestoft on the train with family to watch panto. It’s nostalgic for me, but also crazy!”
Steven also explained that, like most children, panto was his first experience of theatre. The best part was being allowed to shout out and be noisy.
Read more: The Ivy Brasserie, Norwich
Introducing the Genie
Milkshake star Kiera-Nicole Brennan, who will be playing Genie commented: “I love the smiles and laughs panto creates and the impact we have on children’s enjoyment.”
When asked about rehearsals and what it’s like backstage at Norwich Theatre Royal, Kiera-Nicole added: “We have a great atmosphere and real family vibes.”
This was clear from the warm and friendly welcome I received from all the cast members.
30 seconds with Wishy Washy
I managed to catch some time with Ben Langley, who will be playing Wishy Washy. Aladdin is Ben’s favourite panto because it lends itself to clowning around and slapstick.
“Norwich creates some big sets, which help deliver some comedy-gold moments,” Ben comments.
He also alluded to some big laughs and that all-important flying carpet!
Read more: The Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross
Norwich-favourite Richard Gauntlett returns to the stage at Norwich Theatre Royal for the 18th time as the pantomime dame. Once again, Richard is not only starring in the show, but also producing it.
When asked what his favourite part of panto is, he comments: “Rehearsals are not my favourite period! I like to get on with the performances and putting on a great show.”
I like to get on with the performances and putting on a great show
Aladdin promises entertainment for all with fabulous costumes, stunning sets, laundry and lots of laughs.
Panto in Norfolk
Can’t make it to panto at Norwich Theatre Royal? Here are some of the others being staged throughout Norwich: