West End superstar Emma Williams is playing Alice Fitzwarren in this year’s star-studded pantomime DICK WHITTINGTON at the London Palladium. Our friends at the Musical Theatre Review chatted to Emma about the magic of panto and reuniting with her HALF A SIXPENCE costar Charlie Stemp...
What made you want to be in a pantomime?
I haven’t done pantomime for 16-plus years, I used to dance in them all the time as a kid. I love Christmas, it’s one of my favourite times of the year. If I’m not doing a musical, then I’ll always be up for a pantomime because I think that they’re one of the greatest experiences anyone gets to do.
It’s the first time kids tend to get to go to the theatre and the magic of Christmas and pantomime is joyous. To get to do this show is brilliant but also to get to do it at the Palladium is amazing!
What was the most memorable panto experience for you?
I remember my first one, I was six years old and it was at Manchester Palace Theatre. I went with my parents and big brother and we saw Aladdin. It had Eartha Kitt, Sylvester McCoy, who had been in Doctor Who at the time, and I think even Cannon and Ball. My brother also got to go up on stage with Garfield the cat [from the popular comic strip] and tell a joke and I was so jealous of him. I love the fact that I have that memory of going to see a show at that age, I think it’s brilliant.
In what ways is it different from other shows you’’ve been involved in?
Every form of theatre has its own particular style that goes with it. Pantomimes are one of the oldest art forms, they come from that variety age. The first pantomime at the Palladium was just over 100 years ago, which is incredible when you think about it, and interestingly enough it was Dick Whittington – so it’s nice to be back there doing that one.
They are a very specific form of art and it’s something you can do or you can’t, you have to find a way to expand yourself beyond the realms of reality but at the same time create something that’s fully accessible to everybody. I think pantomime is brilliant because it has something for everyone in that respect. There are jokes that will only work for adults, and the kids will just enjoy them and not see the underlining nuances, but there’s also glitz and glamour and fabulous costumes and beautiful, brilliant music.
We are very fortunate, we have a 12-piece band on this...