The Garage and All-In Productions invite you to join them for a rootin’ tootin’ time in the Wild West this December as My First Panto: Goldilocks and The Three Bears moves online. We caught up with cast members Hanna Khogali, James Pattison and TJ Holmes.
Q: This year’s My First Panto is a bit different than usual?
TJ: Audiences will be able to join us for My First Panto online this year which is exciting. We are really embracing that this year and creating lots of fun you can get involved in from your living rooms. Although we will not be able to be with you in person in the theatre, we are going to make it as cosy, friendly and fun.
I think it is important that panto is done well with finesse. We are working hard to make this a special show. We are going to have plenty of lovely live music, the script is lovely, we have beautiful costumes and a glorious set. Everyone will come together to make this something to delight audiences. All you young ‘uns, who will see panto for the first time, will want to keep coming to the theatre for years to come.
James: It has got all that audience call and response and the silliness you would expect in a My First Panto. Even if you are in your own home, we expect you to be on your feet and joining in just as much as possible. One of the nice things about it is that using the technology we have, you can choose the way the story goes and if you don’t like the way it comes out, you can go back and choose a different path. It is up to you.
There will be family-friendly jokes. There may be a couple of little things in there for parents to enjoy. It has all kinds of different music, including pop songs. You do not have to be a theatre person. You can be anyone at all and you are bound to enjoy it.
I am going to be playing guitar and mandolin, which fit into the Wild West theme really nicely. It adds another level of performance to draw people in. if you love live theatre and live music, why not throw them both together? It gives a nice bluegrass element rather than the traditional theatre music.
Hanna: We have got a rodeo, which is brilliant. We have Mama Bear and Papa Bear and a Baby Bear who is a puppet which is really cute and really helpful through the story. This My First Panto is interactive, so you can make choice about what the characters do so you can follow it as you go along.
Q: What can you tell us about your My First Panto characters?
TJ: Mama Bear is quite a matriarch and a strong character who loves eating and cooking porridge and she is quite house-proud. Something that people have been spending months at home will identify with. Coming into that lovely domestic world is our rather villainous Goldilocks.
James: Papa Bear’s loveable. He just likes to have fun. He likes going to the rodeo and wrestling with the pig down there. He just enjoys having a good time, eating lots of food and is just a good guy. We are travelling to the US of A and the Wild, Wild West. Goldilocks is a cowgirl gunslinger and the bears are just simple country folk trying to live their lives.
We focus more on the bear side of the story. I always thought the bears were the real heroes of the story and shows up Goldilocks for the villain she truly is, so everyone gets fully on board with the bears.
Hanna: Goldilocks is a bit cheekier than normal and a bit naughty. She has a bit of an evil streak to her, but she does see the error in her ways by the end which is lovely. You get to mess around a bit more when you play someone naughty and play around a bit more.
Q: What do you like about panto?
TJ: I think it is the one show of the year when everyone feels that they are welcome. Panto is come one come all. It is a great time of the year and this is a show that celebrates that sense of coming together to share a bit of warmth, of fun, of silliness and good heartedness. We really hope that although we can’t be together in person, you can still get a sense of that togetherness which is so key to panto.
James: I went to one or two pantos when I was young to appreciate it. Now I am an adult and working in pantos and I go see my friends in them and enjoy the silliness in it. It is always fun to be in panto and hear all the children’s laughter. It makes it worth getting up in the morning to do a show at 10am. I have done one before, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch. I made some great friends, had a lovely time and I got to sing a song at the top of a beanstalk. What more could you want?
Hanna: This is my first experience of pantomime. I have only graduated for about two years, but this is my first time, and it is exciting. It is so much fun. I think panto is something that brings so much joy to everyone. Everyone needs a bit of cheering up at the moment. It is great music and great songs. You will love it.