New twist to classic panto

PUBLISHED: 12:17 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 11 May 2010

THERE will be a new twist to the story of Aladdin at The Gordon Craig Theatre this winter. John Altman, best known as Nasty Nick in EastEnders, is playing the wicked Egyptian magician Abanazar in the pantomime and has promised a new twist to the character

THERE will be a new twist to the story of Aladdin at The Gordon Craig Theatre this winter.

John Altman, best known as Nasty Nick in EastEnders, is playing the wicked Egyptian magician Abanazar in the pantomime and has promised a new twist to the character.

"He's classically trained this year," said John. "He wants to be in the Royal Shakespeare Company but the public won't let him so he keeps going off spouting quotes from various Shakespearian plays but the band still call him Nick, as do various members of the cast which drives him mad.

"We're playing on the Nick Cotton bit plus there's the character himself he's a wicked Egyptian magician. He was bought up by a gang of international terrorists and he has a few psychological problems with working in Stevenage but he'll get around it somehow, either way you'll love to hate him. There will be some similarities; obviously the lamp is still the focal point."

Pantomime gives the actors the chance to improvise and react to their audience but John insists there is still a discipline and structure to it.

He said: "There's a structure to panto. Some people come along and watch EastEnders and think it's all made up on the spot but there's a great discipline there and there is a discipline here too.

"You have to have the lights on cue, or there's an explosion that has to come after a certain line and I think the choreography has to be correct and perfectly done and things have to be in tune, hopefully!

"There is a discipline but we do have the freedom to have a little fun along the way."

The panto starts on Saturday, November 28, and runs until January 24. Tickets start from £12.50 and can be booked by ringing the box office on 28700 131030 or by visiting www.gordon-craig.co.uk

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