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Oh yes it is! This Christmas, Widow Twankey, aka John Elkington will be taking us on one very entertaining magic carpet ride with with a performance of Aladdin at Nottingham Playhouse.
How has the run up to the show been going? How long does it take to plan?
Rehearsals! We haven’t started yet! The scripts are written, the costumes are being fitted but we don’t begin rehearsing until just three weeks before the first performance.
Though, that’s not to say that preparations aren’t already underway – the Panto is months in the making and planning begins around January and February time, ready for the end of the year. One of the biggest jobs is the costumes – everything is made from scratch and there must be over 100 different costumes in the show.
Who is wearing the most outrageous costume this year – would that be you?
The Empress of a China has a very elaborate costume this year and Abanazar is always one to look out for – in the past he’s even worn dragons on his back! As for me, my costumes are a little more traditional, though I believe I will be donning a teapot at some point in the show…
Tell us a bit about the relaxed and dementia friendly performances.
We introduced these a couple of years ago and they’ve been getting more and more popular. We’ve had masses of feedback from friends and family members saying how thrilled they were to see their child or parent completely immersed in the show. Panto is a great safe place for people to come along and be included and I think if you can sit through a panto you can sit through anything!
Does the show follow the original storyline or can we expect a few new twists and turns?
We always have a slop or slapstick scene squeezed into the the traditional story and you can expect all kinds ad-libbing (there was even a Gangnam Style music interlude one year.) I won’t quite know what’s going to be thrown at me until I get there, but you can guarantee it will be something loud and silly!
Will we see some familiar and/or new faces on stage this year?
There are. We have three new recruits who are completely new to the panto. I love being with old friends – and Nottingham Playhouse is full of friends – but it’s always great to have some fresh energy.
What else do you and the cast like doing around Christmas time in Nottinghamshire?
We only get Christmas Day off but I always make time to look around the market in the Square. I love Christmas and walking around the stalls always puts me in a Christmassy mood. Talking of the Square, I really enjoyed visiting the Spiegeltent earlier this month, there were some fantastic performances.
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