Rachel Nottingham plays Britney in Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s pantomime, Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood – here, she tells Break A Leg all about it… oh yes she does!
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell us about your character.
I’m playing Britney who is one of the Babes in the Wood and I’m very lucky to be working with Celia who plays my sister. We’ve got a good rapport going on hopefully. Britney and her sister Whitney are the typical ‘It’ girls so rather than being babes as in children we are Babes as in eye candy. We’re all about image and the way we come across, looking the best, getting the guys, I imagine they’re the sorts of people who have very expensive handbags and shoes. They’re quite cocky but they are goodies, I want them to be likeable, they’re a bit silly, they do fall in love in the show with the Merry Men.
Why do you think audiences love the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime format so much?
I think the great thing about the Rock ‘n’ Roll panto is that you’ve got the Dame and the silly gags, you’ve also got all the basics then you add into it a load of amazing songs that everybody knows, classic rock ‘n’ roll songs and you can’t really go wrong with performing those. The fact that it’s all played live on stage, I think audiences love that, I know when I go and see a show – to see the instruments played live on stage makes it come alive.
What’s your favourite thing about pantomime season?
Genuinely the audiences, when you do a show normally, audiences can be great but when you do a pantomime the audiences are high on life, they all seem to really love it, they throw themselves into it. It’s a different kind of atmosphere, they’re completely on your side and they’re there to have a really good time. If you have fun with the show, the audience will have fun – it’s more a collaborative experience for audience and performers. It’s interactive and every show is different because an audience member might say something or do something that changes the scene.
Why do you think that pantomime is still an important part of Great British culture?
It’s been around for so long hasn’t it and everyone remembers going to the pantomime as a kid. I went to the Stevenage pantomime every year and it was so magical growing up and as an adult you get something completely different from it. That’s the great things about pantomime, it suits all ages. It’s magical for the kids but for the adults it’s hilarious and ridiculous. It’s so inclusive, non theatre goers come to the theatre which is great.
Who are your pantomime idols?
My friend Clare Halse, I saw her in The Babes In The Wood when I was 10 years old, she started off in pantomime and she’s done amazingly well as a dancer and performer. She’s playing Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street in the West End at the moment, she’s always inspired me to be a better performer. She’s an incredible dancer, dancing is her forte and it’s great to have seen her go all the way from panto to the West End.
Finally, sell the show – why should everybody buy a ticket to see Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood?
It’s for everyone, it’s a really fun night out and there are some banging tunes in there too.