The Voice star Lucy Kane reveals her panto upbringing as she plays Princess Jasmine in Aladdin at the Kings Theatre
You could say if ever anyone was born to be in panto, it’s Lucy Kane – Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, this year’s Kings Theatre show.
As a tiny baby she was being passed around backstage while her mother performed out front.
Lucy’s mum is Linda Lusardi, the actor, presenter and former glamour model.
‘I was born in September,’ says Lucy, ‘and she was doing it in December. I was just being passed around from person to person, this tiny baby, backstage, throwing up on people’s costumes.
‘I think the babysitter was ill one day so I had to come to the theatre.
‘I’ve literally grown up with panto, being somewhere different every Christmas. it's just been a part of my life.’
Lucy stepped out of her mother’s shadow when she revealed her stunning singing talent on the 2017 series of the hit TV show The Voice. But the two remain close – they even worked together in panto last year in Weston-super-Mare.
‘I was Snow White and she was the Wicked Queen. We shared a dressing room, and we just had the best time together. My mum's like my best friend.
‘It was funny, because I feel like I've always been quite a good child, so she's never really had the chance to shout at me. She just took her opportunity in this with both hands and just went for it on stage. It was really good fun.’
Also joining Lucy in the cast are Dan Slade in the title role and Dani Acors as The Spirit of The Ring, both of whom love panto.
‘I just think it's so much fun,’ says Dani. ‘It's fun for us on stage and because we're having fun I feel that the audience enjoy it as well.
‘And obviously there’s the story and the magic, but backstage there’s also a really, really lovely atmosphere in panto.’
It’s not uncommon to hear performers talk about the rush of appearing in front of a live audience – but West End star Dani found out what it’s like to miss that feeling.
‘I didn’t realise how much I love doing panto until I spent one Christmas not doing panto – I was really bored.
‘I was going: “I’m not doing it again next year. It's so tiring, it's such hard work.” And then when I didn't do it and I was like: “Oh my god, I need to get a panto next year”. It didn’t feel right!
‘My Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas.
‘It was really bizarre and I felt really jealous of my friends who were doing it. And I was like: “Okay, next year I’m back on that bandwagon”.’
Dan, in the title role, is enjoying getting his teeth into the romantic lead.
‘I love the fact that the characters are magical, but if you look at it from an acting point of view, they do go on a bit of a journey.
‘Aladdin obviously starts off very poor, he's got nothing, falls in love with the girl of his dreams that he can't have, and they do all go on a journey, which I really like to play.’
And of course there’s everything else that comes with being in panto: ‘There’s music and there’s singing and dancing and there's camaraderie, and then there’s when something goes wrong, and it's actually funny for the audience.
‘I think we all love it if somebody drops a line, or someone falls over – you can use it.’
They also enjoy the close-knit feel of a panto company.
‘You have to have some kind of downtime,’ says Dan, ‘it is really intense, even in rehearsals when you're learning the stuff.
‘Then when you are in the shows it's still intense because you have to keep on top of your game, and not get too tired, but you do also have to relax and enjoy each other's company.
‘You're never going to be here in this scenario again with these people, and it’s quite short-lived, it only lasts a month or so you've just got to enjoy it while it's happening.’
Kings Theatre, Southsea
until January 5