Ian McKellen, who is to play Widow Twankey in Aladdin at the Old Vic Theatre this Christmas, met up with famed pantomime dame Wyn Calvin recently to get some friendly advice on his forthcoming role.
On meeting Calvin, McKellen asked him the best way to prepare for playing the dragged up role. “Shave,” Calvin replied.
Maureen Lipman, Roger Allam and Sam Kelly have been confirmed as McKellen’s co-stars in the show, which opens at the Old Vic on December 17. Written by Billie Brown and directed by Sean Mathias, this reworking of the classic tale is expected to have all the regular pantomime trimmings.
Earlier this year Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey confessed that the panto traditional did not exist in America but added: “I liked the idea of getting involved with something of which I have no experience. The early talk I have been listening to suggests it is going to be knee-slappingly funny.”
* Time of Our Lives Theatre Company and Waltham Forest Borough Council are joining forces to present Dick Whittington at the Waltham Forest Theatre, Walthamstow from December 7-13. This is the first professional pantomime at the venue for many years and is part of the council’s initiative to utilise the theatre for a variety of professional and community shows.