Jason Manford: ‘Standup’s lonely – I like the panto household’
Panto was my first expertise of going to the theatre. In school in south Manchester, there have been free tickets for teenagers from underprivileged backgrounds. I should have been 10 or 11 and I believed theatre actually wasn’t for me. It was a stuffy place the place folks went to see Shakespeare or Chekhov, stroked their beards and had suppose. The concept that you possibly can shout out to the actors, they usually’d shout again, was type of magical. You didn’t really feel like an imposter. You felt such as you had been there for a cause.
I’ve been doing standup for almost 25 years and my viewers has grown up with me. They had been my age after I first began – simply out of college, doing gigs about girlfriends and going out. Then got here the excursions about settling down. Youngsters. My viewers has gone by way of all of the life levels with me. Now they’re roughly my age and have gotten children themselves, who can come and see me carry out. It’s opened me as much as the entire household, and that’s a very beautiful thought.
It’s fairly a lonely outdated job, stand-up. I’ve spent a lot of my profession on stage by myself. I like with the ability to be a part of an organization and be a part of a household of colleagues who’re going by way of the identical factor as you. All these individuals are there that can assist you with the heavy lifting of constructing folks chuckle each night time.
I’ve performed so many musicals the place you’ve obtained to stay to the script. That’s fairly restraining, particularly as a comic book. However with a panto, I can’t think about anybody telling me to stay to the story! I’m very a lot trying ahead to having that freedom on stage as Captain Hook, and dealing with individuals who I do know will make me chuckle each night time. It’s thrilling, too – to go on stage and suppose that something might occur.
Keala Settle: ‘My canine’s making her stage debut!’
I first got here throughout British pantomime after I was selling the movie The Biggest Showman. It was across the vacation season and I noticed these panto billboards all over. My hair stylist needed to clarify what it was. Later, after I was lifeless set on transferring to England completely, I informed my agent I really want to do a panto!
I like the magic in children’ eyes through the Christmas holidays. Regardless of what’s going on on the earth, a baby will all the time discover the magic in one thing. I’m a sucker for all of that. And my canine goes to be in it! They all the time have a canine within the present they usually knew I used to be bringing my canine, so she’s going to make her first look on stage. Give her peanut butter or a deal with and she or he’ll be off to the races.
They requested me what sort of fairy I needed to be. Did I would like tiaras? Diamonds? No! I stated I needed to be the runt fairy that got here out final and has no thought what’s happening, so I’m going to be the vegetable fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk. The corporate is beautiful and hilarious and sort. I’ve informed them I don’t know what I’m doing – however I’ll do as a lot analysis as I can and hit the stage working. I’ll wave that magic wand with all the things I’ve obtained.
While you’re on stage, the most important issue is the viewers. That power is all the things. These children cheering and booing are the lacking piece. As quickly because the viewers is in, all of it comes collectively.
Carrie Hope Fletcher: ‘It’s all feathers and sparkle’
I used to be fairly late to panto. I first skilled it after I was 19. It was Cinderella and I bear in mind being a bit baffled by the truth that I used to be allowed to hitch in. Once I went to theatre as a child, I all the time needed to be quiet and behave. You positively weren’t allowed to sing alongside or shout out. So the concept that panto permits all of that was superb. It felt somewhat bit naughty.
I’ve had so many buddies carry out in pantomimes through the years and have probably the most unbelievable time. I’ve all the time been so jealous that they get to ramp up the Christmas festive spirit. It isn’t fairly the identical if you’re in Les Misérables! Canterbury at Christmas goes to be sensible as properly. I really feel like my festive season is about to be kicked up a notch.
Having that viewers interplay actually takes the stress off, particularly after I’m singing. The whole lot stops if you sing your massive quantity in a musical. You’re the one particular person that everybody is taking a look at and it’s lifeless silent within the room. It’s completely terrifying. However happening to the stage in panto, realizing that we’re all right here to have time, it looks like we’re going to be partying collectively.
That is the primary time I’ve performed a correct villain. I’m very excited to be the one within the horns quite than the one within the glass slippers. I’m enjoying the depraved witch and the costume is darkish crimson with very sparkly black boots and feathery crimson horns. It seems like I’ve killed loads of crows to make my costume. It’s all feathers and sparkle.
Chelsea Corridor: ‘My mum shall be there each night time!’
I grew up in Hull and went to a dance college known as LWHS from about 4 years outdated. The little children who went to the dance college additionally ended up within the native pantomime – however I used to be all the time that child who was too tall. All my buddies obtained to be in it however I by no means did. I ultimately went on to show on the dance college, and my college students would find yourself in panto, too. Now I really feel prefer it’s lastly my flip!
Panto is a convention in our household. When Christmas comes, we all know we’re going to go to the theatre. I used to go yearly with my mum and two sisters, and their children. It was an opportunity for us to get collectively and have a little bit of amusing. When my grandma was nonetheless with us, she used to take us to panto after I was somewhat lady. Each time we went, she’d get us a key ring. I’ve nonetheless obtained the Cinderella slipper key ring – and it all the time jogs my memory of my grandma and our time on the panto.
All of the posters have gone up round Hull. I’m on the poster and one among my buddies despatched me the image. I texted it to my mum with the caption: “Mum, I’ve made it!”
I’m positive my mum shall be there watching me each night time. (I’m not even joking.) Once I was in Carry it On, in London, it was so beautiful realizing you had family and friends within the viewers they usually had been positively going to cheer if you bow. It’s a very comforting feeling – and I really feel prefer it’s going to be like that each night time in Hull.