WIN TICKETS FOR THE PANTOS
Win a chance to visit your favourite pantos in Norwich and Ipswich
There’s nothing like a trip to the panto to reconnect you with the fun and traditions of the festive season. And there are some great productions in our area this winter.
Rik Makarem has been practising his laugh. It’s one of the most important parts of his role and he wants it to be perfect . . . menacing, powerful and very evil!
Rik is preparing for a role he absolutely loves, Abanazar, the wicked baddie in Aladdin, this year’s Theatre Royal Norwich pantomime. “He is one of the best panto roles - it’s a licence to make bold, character-driven choices,” says Rik, who will be a familiar face to followers of TV’s Emmerdale and Casualty. “On a personal level I know that you have to give 150% in panto. The voice is key and especially so with the baddie - you have to play it with such level of energy that the children completely believe in your ability to be really bad.”
It is clear to see that Rik is relishing his role in this year’s panto extravaganza at the Theatre Royal. He will be starring opposite the Genie, played by 19-year-old Kiera-Nicole Brennan, a presenter on Channel Five’s Milkshake show, and former Hollyoaks and The History Boys star Steve Roberts, who takes the title role of Aladdin. And it wouldn’t be a Norwich panto without favourites Richard Gauntlett and Ben Langley keeping the audience in stitches.
Rik says it was “an easy decision” for him to take on the panto role at Norwich after his TV commitments of recent years. “I am quite old fashioned and I like traditional panto done creatively with full and colourful characters,” he says. “For some children and adults it will be their first theatrical experience, so it is important for us to entertain them but also it’s an opportunity to tell the panto morals and to encourage them to come back to the theatre for more and different experiences in the future.”
Rik, who is from Chesterfield, says it is his classical training that has lured him back to the theatre, but calls Emmerdale and Casualty “both life-changing roles that I am very thankful for”.
“If you saw the amount of workmanship that goes into creating both series and all the different scenes, it is truly amazing and there are plenty of amazing people involved.” After playing Nikhil Sharma in Emmerdale for several years, he was Dr Sebastian Grayling in Casualty in 2016. “I was really in there to challenge Dylan Keogh, played by William Beck who is such a fabulous actor. It was a great experience and it was lovely to work with him, it really makes you up your game.” Aladdin is at the Norwich Theatre Royal from Wednesday, December 12 to Sunday, January 13. Tickets from £10 to £ 24.50, from Theatre Royal, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL; 01603 630000; theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
Rik Makarem as Abanazar in this year’s production of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Norwich