What’s life like for a stage manager on an adult pantomime?

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Our Featured Show – Excess All Areas’ new adult pantomime, Kitten in Heels – opens this week at London’s LOST Theatre and the team are working overtime to get everything ready. (See also – “Featured Show: Kitten in Heels marks 15 years of adult pantomime”.) Producer Paul L Martin quizzes the show’s excited stage manager Anna DeFreitas about the joys and challenges of managing a gang of crazy cabaret performers in a Christmas panto… 

Hiya! You’re managing the stage again. Are you as excited as we are?
Hiya! Yes, I’m so excited a little bit of wee came out. If the current rehearsals are anything to go by, I cannot wait for audiences to see our latest offering. The Dick Whittington/Puss in Boots tale has a flippin’ bonkers plot as it is. Our interpretation of the story takes it to whole new levels of WTF!? I really can’t tell you much more than that because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Suffice to say, Kitten in Heels is going to be a blast.

The Lost Theatre in Stockwell

The Lost Theatre in Stockwell

The LOST Theatre is so much bigger than the Battersea Barge [the company’s home for more than a decade]; does that mean there’s more mad dashing involved?
Yes, A LOT! Backstage at LOST is a bit of a labyrinth. David Bowie is often spotted in the corridors pleasuring a Jim Henson puppet (allegedly). Unlike the Battersea Barge, however, the theatre doesn’t rock when the tide comes in and there are no deathtrap spiral staircases, so everything considered I’m happy in our new home.

Last year you were actually in the show? Are you looking for an even bigger part this year?
It’s an Excess All Areas panto tradition to have the Stage Manager appear during the production; not always on purpose. Following my debut last Christmas, the creative team felt that this year my “talents” would be put to better use in the Tech Box. I have no idea why.

Kitten in Heels kicks off at London's LOST Theatre this Christmas

Kitten in Heels kicks off at London’s LOST Theatre this Christmas

DeFreitas is a gorgeous name. Whence cometh it?
Thank you. My Guyanese father bestowed it upon me, though it originates from Madeira. I’m told it has something to do with either wild cats or men who stand on rocks near churches. This last bit could very well be complete twaddle.

Excess All Areas' stage manager Anna DeFreitas

Excess All Areas’ stage manager Anna DeFreitas

Your pic on the Excess All Areas team page is quite something. What’s the story?

I love that pic! It’s from a freelance carnival gig I did in Denmark a couple of years ago. The production team were invited to a glitzy after party, but we had nothing fancy to wear so we raided our face paint box. The resulting make-up was courtesy of the team’s fabulous artist Andrea Greenwood. I’m not very good at having my picture taken, but on that occasion I was more than happy to.

Will there be any real kittens in the show? And if so, have they had their heel fitting yet?
Sadly, no. We attempted to negotiate a contract with the Excess All Areas office cat, Harley, but his demands (Louboutin heels only; his own dressing room; 60% of all Box Office takings) were unworkable. Madonna has nothing on that little diva!

Kitten in Heels runs Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 December, Friday 18 to Sunday 20 December 2015. Check out the Paul Martin’s Excess All Areas blog for more interviews with cast and creatives plus backstage insights.

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Guest Bloggers on Twitter
Guest Bloggers
MyTheatreMates welcomes submissions from guest bloggers and other occasional contributors, including theatremakers commenting on aspects of their shows. Please email your suggestions to Mates co-founder Terri Paddock or submit them via our Contact Us page.