Here & Now interviewed the lovely Lee Latchford-Evans (STEPS superstar) who stars as Aladdin in this year’s Worthing Theatres Panto.
What’s your favourite thing about being in a panto?
I love it! I do it a bit like a STEPS show. When people come to watch STEPS they just want to forget their worries and their troubles, we don’t really live in the best world at the moment and I find that when people come to a STEPS concert they can just let all that go, they’re in an environment with people who are very similar to them and they can truly be themselves.
I find that panto is very similar. They (the audience) bring their families along, there is something for the children where they can let themselves go and have fun… the lights, the pyros, and the bad guy they want to scream at! And then there are the jokes that go over the children’s heads but the parents get it.
It’s a bit of fun for everybody and I think you do forget your troubles for those two hours and if you leave smiling then we’ve done our job.
What do you like best about playing Aladdin?
I think playing Aladdin is fantastic, even though a lot of the show is on your shoulders and you’re on stage a lot, he’s a cheeky chappy, the audience like Aladdin, they’re on Aladdin’s side, and that’s good!
Costume wise, you know, I’m sitting here very relaxed and I think that’s great for an actor because when you’re the prince it looks grand but there’s not a lot of movement involved. So, I’m very relaxed as Aladdin! I like it!
Do you have any tricks for learning your lines?
No tricks as such! You go home and learn your lines and that’s fine, but then you’ll come into rehearsal and probably 20% of it will change.
I always say you’re better off having an idea of where the story goes and where your lines are in the scenes that you do. When it gets to the actual stage with the lights, props and sets, there’s a way of remembering lines by movement on stage and what’s happening on set.
The great thing with panto is if you forget your line you can just go the audience “Oh I’m lost! Where am I? What’s going on?!” and there’s a way of getting out of it!
There must be a funny backstage story that you can tell us?
Last time I did Aladdin, my wife was in it too and we brought our dog along. Once, our little Frenchie dog ran out of the dressing room when there was a show on, and she just bolted down the corridor towards the stage and we thought she was going to run on to the stage! Luckily one of the dancers got her before that happened!
Another is in Aladdin too! I have one quick costume change before a song. I remember I just about made it with pants down here (Lee points at his ankles) and one shoe on! As the lights were coming on I was pulling my boot up and I just started singing!
Aladdin: The Pantomime flies into Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre 30 Nov – 1 Jan.
Get your tickets here: https://worthingtheatres.co.uk/aladdin-panto/