Why Aliens Love Un­der­pants ac­tor Tom Al­lenby feels like Harry Styles

Why Tom Al­lenby, lead ac­tor in the play based on the pop­u­lar pic­ture book is all ex­cited about bring­ing the show to the UAE

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE - enid@khalee­j­times.com ENID PARKER

THE­ATRE LOVERS OF all ages will doubt­less be thrilled to know that Art For All, a provider for ed­u­ca­tional the­atre in the UAE, is bring­ing West End ex­trav­a­ganza Aliens Love Un­der­pants to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A clas­sic chil­dren’s story, adapted from the pop­u­lar pic­ture book by au­thors Claire Freed­mand and Ben Cort, it has been brought to life by the­atre com­pany, Big Wooden Horse. Aliens Love Un­der­pants is de­scribed as “a zany tale that is both hi­lar­i­ous and rather silly (in the best pos­si­ble way) the story cen­ters on lit­tle Timmy who wit­nesses aliens pinch­ing un­der­pants from the wash­ing line!”

City Times caught up with Tom Al­lenby, who plays Timmy, to get the low-down on this ‘Paaaaan­tas­tic Party of Pants Pan­de­mo­nium’.

How do you feel about bring­ing Aliens Love Un­der­pants to the UAE?

I couldn’t be any more ex­cited to bring the show to the UAE, and it will be a real priv­i­lege to per­form it for you! I think au­di­ences, both par­ents and chil­dren alike, are go­ing to have a Paaaaan­tas­tic Party of Pants Pan­de­mo­nium…what more could you ask for?!

Have you been to the UAE be­fore?

No, I’ve never trav­elled to your part of the world be­fore, and that’s a real perk of be­ing an ac­tor – some­times you get the op­por­tu­nity to travel to lo­ca­tions you wouldn’t usu­ally do so! I can’t wait to visit the UAE, and even though we’re not with you for too long, we’re go­ing to try and fit in as many trips and ex­pe­ri­ence as much of the cul­ture as we can. Please rec­om­mend to us places we should visit when we see you – desert sa­fari, the wa­ter park and the ski­ing looks so fun!

Aliens Love Un­der­pants is a pop­u­lar pic­ture book for chil­dren. What are the chal­lenges of bring­ing a chil­dren’s pic­ture book to the stage?

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with what the big­gest chal­lenge is – that it’s such a pop­u­lar book, and we want our au­di­ences to en­joy our stage ver­sion just as much as the book, if not more so! The sounds and voices we have cho­sen, and that are in our imag­i­na­tion for th­ese char­ac­ters, might not be the same as the one’s when you read the book. But then that’s the beauty of the­atre, and great sto­ries, isn’t it; each per­son can get lost in a dif­fer­ent world in a dif­fer­ent way from the per­son next to them, but still have a won­der­ful time!

The show is de­scribed as an in­ter­ac­tive, hi­lar­i­ous, silly ad­ven­ture suited to both kids and adults - tell us why you en­joy be­ing part of it.

You’re an­swer­ing th­ese ques­tions your­self …you don’t need me at all haha. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be part of an in­ter­ac­tive, hi­lar­i­ous and silly ad­ven­ture…that sounds like the most fun you can pos­si­bly have…and you’d be right! But there’s more than just fun in this show, and I think that’s why it’s re­ally clever, be­cause whether you’re 6, or 66, there’s so much you can take away with you.

Who wouldn’t want to be part of an in­ter­ac­tive, hi­lar­i­ous and silly ad­ven­ture.” Tom Al­lenby

How has the au­di­ence re­sponse been so far to the show?

The show has been on in Lon­don for a cou­ple of months now, and au­di­ences have re­ally loved it. There is one stand­out mo­ment, which hap­pened last Satur­day. The kids in the au­di­ence were so in­vested in the story and were try­ing to help out my char­ac­ter, “Timmy”, that they started to get on stage with me! I’ve never had that hap­pen be­fore, but it proves how ex­cit­ing this story is – the au­di­ence was lit­er­ally on the edge of their seats! I felt like Harry Styles…

What are the ma­jor dif­fer­ences be­tween act­ing on stage and on screen?

That’s a very dif­fi­cult ques­tion! From the ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had so far, I’d say the main dif­fer­ence is in the type of con­cen­tra­tion that is needed, and en­ergy. For in­stance, when film­ing, you might be told to get to set at 9am, but not ac­tu­ally film your scene un­til 5pm, and so you have to main­tain that con­cen­tra­tion and en­ergy all day, usu­ally on your own. Whereas with act­ing on stage, you know you have to be at the the­atre an hour be­fore the per­for­mance, give ev­ery­thing you’ve got for 2 hours, and then you can rest. You’ve also got the sup­port and the en­ergy of your other cast mem­bers, so it feels much more like a team per­for­mance.

Tell us about your favourite me­mory from a stage per­for­mance.

Last year I played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in Strat­ford Upon Avon where Shake­speare was born – that per­for­mance is one that will live long in the me­mory.

This play is very dif­fer­ent from your ear­lier the­atre roles which were of a more se­ri­ous na­ture – Romeo, Duke Orsino and Fred & Young Scrooge – what was it like do­ing a com­edy?

Yes this is a bit dif­fer­ent from those roles, but what I would say is that those sto­ries and those char­ac­ters are only se­ri­ous be­cause of the com­edy and light­ness in them. For ex­am­ple Romeo and Juliet is as much a com­edy as it is a tragedy. And so on the face of it this show is a “com­edy”, and kids and adults alike will laugh their socks off, but there are also some se­ri­ous themes and ques­tions, and it makes the story even more en­ter­tain­ing… see if you can spot them!

Whether you’re 6, or 66, there’s so much you can take away with you (from this play).” Tom Al­lenby

Aliens Love Un­der­pants

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