‘Oh yes he is’: Kat B is back for panto season
- Credit: Archant
A break-dancing cow, bonkers baddies and the ‘scariest giant ever’ will take to the stage this weekend as what is arguably the best panto in town returns to Hackney Empire.
Director Susie McKenna’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk follows two stories – that of young and earnest Jack and another of the giant – with an environmental theme running throughout and plenty of Hackney-centric jokes.
The show stars Olivier Award-nominee Debbie Kurup as Jack, everyone’s favourite compere Kat B as Snowman, and Clive Rowe as Dame Daisy Trott – and as with any panto worth its weight in salt, there will be buckets of silliness, tons of audience participation and full-on show-stopping songs performed by a live band.
MTV presenter Kat B, who is back at the Empire for his ninth panto year, told the Gazette that rehearsals are going well. “We are getting in trouble with the director because we laughing too much, but she’s also really happy with us,” he said.
He explained how the idea is to make sure that people can come from all over the world and see how a panto is ‘meant to be done’.
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“We are doing damage limitation and for anyone who has been to a panto elsewhere in the past and found it very smutty and very drab, they don’t want to come back. We have to undo all the bad things that are done by bad pantos,” he said.
“We want to make people understand this is the essence of panto and make people feel they are at a giant jelly and ice cream party – it’s about making the audience feel like they are a child again, rather than feel begrudged you have to take your child on the day.
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“This isn’t a crèche where your child can scream for two hours, you have to scream as well.”
Apparently Jack is one of their most complex and hardest shows to do.
“There are so many back stories to produce before the beanstalk,” said Kat B.
“The whole point of doing the show is to make sure everyone knows the story, but even then we have got to build the story so everyone feels like they are five years old again.”
Ultimately though, he believes the essence of the show is about love.
“There are so many layers of love and friendship, it doesn’t have to be an all out love, there is secret love and crushes, the love for the planet and the love for characters you have only just met along the way, old love and rekindling love because of a mismanagement of communication.
“And by the end of it the audience end up loving the show as well.”
The show runs at the Hackney Empire in Mare Street, Hackney Central, from Saturday November 21 to January 3 2016.