Elizabeth Carter and Glenn Adamson on being Sleeping Beauty dream couple in Norwich panto
PUBLISHED: 08:30 24 December 2017
Richard Jarmy Photography
Every panto needs a love story and Norwich Theatre Royal’s Sleeping Beauty is no different. We find out more from cast members Elizabeth Carter and Glenn Adamson.
Along with the traditional elements of lots of slapstick humour, adorable panto babes and a dame, many a panto has a love story at its heart and Norwich Theatre Royal’s Sleeping Beauty this year is no different.
It opens in the early 1900s in a large country house, where Sleeping Beauty is the daughter of the housekeeper and her prince is the son of the lord of the manor.
Elizabeth Carter is playing Patience Midges soon to be Sleeping Beauty, opposite Glenn Adamson as the Honourable Timothy Norbridge.
Elizabeth is making a return to Norwich, and to the Theatre Royal, having appeared here earlier in the year in the lead role of Laura in Dreamboats and Petticoats.
Glenn, who has a strong acting pedigree in musicals and plays, said his character is “a typical young posh boy who comes from money and falls in love with a girl from a different world.”
Glenn’s first acting experience was in panto and for the past two Christmases he has entertained panto audiences at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre in the lead roles in Dick Whittington last year and Aladdin in 2015.
Q&A — ELIZABETH CARTER
Tell us about the setting of Sleeping Beauty?
We start the show in the 1900s. I am very excited to be wearing the period costumes as I have never worn anything like that before so that will be fun. Halfway through the show, Sleeping Beauty will prick her finger and then we will whizz forward 100 years to when she wakes up in the present day, so there is a good variety in the show of costumes, sets and music.
Which elements of panto do you most enjoy?
I love the opportunity to play with the audience. You don’t often get to do that in a show as you have that fourth wall there, whereas in panto you get to play with them too. I love the spontaneity of pantomime. You never know what is going to happen. I love the humour and the comedy and whenever I do a panto, I always feel like I am part of Christmas. I love kids as well and seeing their faces in the audience. I have a niece and nephew who are four and seven who are coming to watch.
You’ve been in panto before – what sort of other roles have you played?
I have played Wendy in Peter Pan, I have played Jasmine in Aladdin. But this is my first time as Sleeping Beauty, so I am very excited.
What do you like about Norwich?
I love all of the unique little shops and boutiques. I have been on tour for six years and I get to go to a lot of different towns. I really feel like Norwich has its own special stores and the market is really pretty and has lots of different stuff. I think it is lovely to be here for Christmas.
You studied Music and Drama at Leeds University. What attracted you to a career in the world of performance?
I think it is the beauty of telling stories and the effect it has on the audience. It can move us and make us think about things, make us laugh, and help us forget about the world if we want to. When I left drama school I got a lovely agent who supported me for the first few years. Then I got a lot of experience working with different theatre companies and I did some radio dramas and started doing panto, and then moved into musical theatre. I first played Laura in Dreamboats and Petticoats about six years ago. That was my first big musical really and then I worked for Bill Kenwright for six years and returned to the role for the tenth anniversary this year which was when I came to Norwich.
You don’t just work as an actor, as you also have your own show. Tell us a bit about that?
It is called Between Us. I have been writing it for about three years. I started writing it because I wanted to do something creative. I was at a time of my life where I was becoming aware of how influenced I was by certain things and being a woman of this generation, I wanted to speak out a little bit about that. It was a play at first and then I got an amazing composer and lyricist on board. We had a preview last May in London which went well, and I am hoping to take it out next year. It is my story in my late twenties and what I was searching for in my idea of fulfilment. I was looking at relationships and work, and my friends were very similar. It is my character, Elizabeth, and a friend called Steph who is career driven and who has everything she wants like the perfect house but she isn’t happy and can’t understand why.
Q&A — GLENN ADAMSON
Panto is a real family tradition for you?
Yes - the first thing I ever saw in a theatre as a child was pantomime and it is the only thing my brother will ever come and watch me in. My little niece is coming to see me as well. This is something my whole family can enjoy seeing me in rather than the plays I do the rest of the year. Normally I would have been in panto in another theatre in Essex, but this year I am playing in a bigger theatre and audiences. It is also really nice to be spending Christmas nearer to home in Peterborough, as normally I can never get home in time for Christmas Day.
What is it you most enjoy about pantomime?
I love the dame and the comic. I find it very hard not to laugh on stage and I like that in panto you can get away with that a little. I know that Richard Gauntlett is infamous here for being brilliant and very funny. All the past dames I have worked with have told me I will have an absolute ball working with Richard every day, that he is one of the best, so I am very excited to be doing that. He is making me laugh and making the Christmas period as fun as it can be.
What can you tell us about your character, the Honourable Timothy Norbridge?
He is a typical young posh boy who comes from money. He is a uni student and he comes back and is having a great time with his friends. This young girl comes into his life who is not from his world and sparks his interest and he is enamoured by that. It is a typical love story as with all fairy tales. Boy meets girl but she is a strong independent woman as well, but I think they are very different and that interests him. There is a bit of romance - something for the mums and dads.
How did you get started in acting?
I have always done panto because I find it really exciting. I can’t imagine Christmas without it. I started out as a really young child in the children’s ensemble in Peterborough, and then went to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts where I studied acting.
What other roles have you performed in?
I have done a range before. One of the jobs I did that I most enjoyed was The Doris Day Story on tour which was all about her life and I played Doris’s son Terry. She lived a really sad life and her life is a really great tale. That was the first time I actually played someone who was real and existed, which is very different from panto. It was a real melancholic piece. I have also been up in the Lake District for the past five months doing a new Alan Ayckbourn play about Beatrix Potter’s life. Sleeping Beauty will be a real contrast to that.
• Sleeping Beauty, Norwich Theatre Royal, until January 14, various dates/times, £24.50-£7, under-3s free, 01603 630000, theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk