29 November 2010

Organized Chaos: Robin Hood, the Pantomime

A veteran of Circa pantomimes, Michael Nicholas Williams takes a break from his work on Robin Hood to tell drama on the waterfront about the musical side of the panto experience.

DOTW: First of all, please tell us a little bit about the music in Robin Hood

MNW: A mix of show tunes, 70s ballads and hey-nonny-nonny madrigals.

Jane Waddell and John Wraight in Robin Hood. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: How many of the Circa pantos have you been a part of?

MNW: I’ve written the music and been Musical Director for all 6.

DOTW: What can you tell us about the pantomime experience?

MNW: I get to giggle a LOT.  It’s nice doing a show that makes people happy - instant gratification!

DOTW: What is like composing music for a pantomime? Does the process differ at all from composing for other shows?

MNW: I think I approach it the same way as other shows…  But in panto-land, if I drift towards cheesy-ness I tend to linger a little longer.  What I enjoy most is finding the music for the underscoring - which part of a song becomes a character’s theme, or how can I arrange this jolly tune so that it’s dangerous and threatening?    

Also I enjoy adopting a different style of music. For example, Aladdin had (quasi) middle-eastern music (which to tell the truth was nearer to Fiddler on the Roof…), Jack and the Beanstalk was country and Dick Whittington was Music-Hall.

(left to right) John Wraight (on ground), Jeff Kingsford-Brown, Jamie McCaskill and Kali Kopae in Robin Hood. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: What is your favourite Circa panto memory? 

MNW: At the moment I’m enjoying my 4 bars of fame at the end of Act 1 - then the bastards tell me to shut up!  I look forward to the gooey romantic ballads, and the Dames always make me laugh - you never know what’s going to happen.

DOTW: How does Robin Hood compare to the earlier pantos?

MNW: I think that’s like asking me which one of my children I love most… 

DOTW: Finally, what can audiences expect from Robin Hood

MNW: Organised chaos.

Gavin Rutherford and Jamie McCaskill in Robin Hood. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
Robin Hood, the Pantomime runs until 23 December, and then returns in 2011 for a two week season, 4-15 January. Tickets are going fast, get yours by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or going online at www.circa.co.nz

Celebrate Christmas at Robin Hood!
Bring your group of merry men or women to see Robin Hood and enjoy a specialty platter before, at interval or after the show.

The Friar Tuck (savoury)
The Maid Marian (sweet)
The Mother Hood (full dessert)

All are just $12.50 per person, not including ticket price. For more information, call Cara Hill, Audience Development Director, at 801-8137 or by email at carah@circa.co.nz.

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