To get you in the mood for Aladdin this January, we will be running a series of interviews with the cast and crew to find out more about what it takes to put on a KLP Panto. Our first interview is with Andrew Knight, our director. No stranger to Panto, Andrew won the Noda London District award for best performance in a Panto alongside his side-kick Sean Lovell for their performance in Mother Goose a couple of years ago. Let’s find out more about what motivates Andrew.
You’ve directed a few Pantomimes for us before haven’t you (among many other plays) – what is it that you like so much about Panto?
The last Panto that I directed was I believe four years ago with Beauty and the Beast. It’s great to come back to directing Panto after a gap. I always loved Panto when I was growing up (some would say I still am growing up), and it was after all one of my first ventures onto the KLP stage. I am not shy from a challenge as you know, I was bought up with musical theatre being in my blood, and Panto is as about as close you can also get. With large group scenes & toe tapping songs, I love bringing my ideas from home into the rehearsal room. I love the humor and silly comedy, and working out the routines that come with them. Seeing it transform before me is a real buzz.
What is different about directing a Panto as opposed to a straight show?
I have as you know directed quite a few straight plays, so it really is like jumping from one extreme to the other. Scheduling chorus/principle rehearsals & music rehearsals and of course the joys of having to reschedule things when people can’t make it. It’s a challenge but all works out in the end. With a straight play you just have to worry about scheduling in dialogue, and your brain doesn’t have to cope with so many other elements.
It’s a different sort of buzz, but is still just as rewarding, seeing your vision transform before you.
What do you like about Chris Jordan’s script?
We haven’t used a Chris Jordan script for a while, the last was Cinderella directed by yours truly. For the last few years we changed to using Ben Crocker scripts. Coming back to Chris’ script is refreshing, it’s very well written and has so many elements to it, the script is very professional and has a fantastic music score to go with it (more songs than we have ever had before) I am sure it will not disappoint.
It really is a privilege to be using Chris’ script for Aladdin. Based in Eastbourne, his company has up to 16 pantomimes being performed across the Country each year!
Can you tell us any spoilers?
This will be one of the most ambitious Pantos that we have ever done, lots of magic, special effects, oh yes and Mike Crow dressed as Wonder Woman (spoiler alert!). That’s the only one I am going to give you – you’ll have to come and see it to find out more.
Make sure you book your tickets as soon as possible. The matinees sell out quickly and you don’t want to miss out. Discounts are available on group bookings of 10 or more.
Keep reading the blog to find out the latest news as we will be talking to some of the cast plus the wardrobe and set designer and Stage Manager to see what really goes on behind the scenes.