Along with the traditional elements of lots of slapstick humour, adorable panto babes and a dame, many a panto has a love story at its heart and Norwich Theatre Royal’s Sleeping Beauty is no different.
It opens in the early 1900s in a large country house, where Sleeping Beauty is the daughter of the housekeeper and her prince is the son of the lord of the manor.
Glenn Adamson plays the Honourable Timothy Norbridge opposite Elizabeth Carter as Patience Midges – and Glenn, who has a strong acting pedigree in musicals and plays, said his character is “a typical young posh boy who comes from money and falls in love with a girl from a different world”.
Glenn’s first acting experience was in panto and for the past two Christmases he has entertained panto audiences at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre in the lead roles in Dick Whittington last year and Aladdin in 2015.
He tells Judy Foster about a life on the stage and how important laughter is to him.
How did you get started in acting?
I have always done panto because I find it really exciting. I can’t imagine Christmas without it. I started out as a really young child in the children’s ensemble in Peterborough, and then went to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts where I studied acting.
So pantomime is a real family tradition for you?
Yes – the first thing I ever saw in a theatre as a child was pantomime and it is the only thing my brother will ever come and watch me in. My little niece is coming to see me as well. This is something my whole family can enjoy seeing me in rather than the plays I do the rest of the year. Normally I would have been in panto in another theatre in Essex, but this year I am playing in a bigger theatre; it is really exciting to be playing to much bigger audiences. It is also really nice to be spending Christmas nearer to home in Peterborough, as normally I can never get home in time for Christmas Day.
What is it you most enjoy about pantomime?
I love the dame and the comic. I find it very hard not to laugh on stage and I like that in panto you can get away with that a little. Richard Gauntlett is infamous here for being brilliant and very funny. All the past dames I have worked with told me I would have an absolute ball working with Richard every day and that he is one of the best, so I was very excited for that.
What can you tell us about your character, the Honourable Timothy Norbridge?
He is a typical young posh boy who comes from money. He is a uni student and he comes back from uni and is having a great time with his friends. This young girl comes into his life who is not from his world and sparks his interest and he is enamoured by that. It is a typical love story as with all fairy tales. Boy meets girl but she is a strong independent woman as well, but I think they are very different and that interests him. There is a bit of romance – something for the mums and dads.
What other roles have you performed in?
I have done a range before. One of the jobs I did that I most enjoyed was The Doris Day Story on tour which was all about her life and I played Doris’s son Terry. She lived a really sad life and her life is a really great tale. That was the first time I actually played someone who was real and existed, which is very different from panto. It was a real melancholic piece. I have also been up in the Lake District for the past five months doing a new Alan Ayckbourn play about Beatrix Potter’s life. Sleeping Beauty is a real contrast to that!
Where do you see your career path leading?
I grew up singing and dancing and I just chose to do more of an acting and drama school route, but most of my jobs have been singing and dancing. I am a jack of all trades. I like short stints of contracts rather than long arduous contracts where it feels like things go on and on. I just want to keep doing work that I enjoy. The reason I became an actor was for every day to feel really fun. I like to give it my all. It is nice to go to work and play with your best friends every day rather than for it to feel laboured.
How well did you know Norwich and Norfolk before starring in panto here?
I had only been to Norwich before for shopping, as it is the best shopping close to Peterborough. So we would spend a lot of time here shopping when we were children, and my day out would be to Norwich but never to the theatre. But while I am here in Norfolk I have heard you can go seal-watching so that is what I have got planned for one of my days off. I can’t wait to do that. It is definitely on the schedule.
Sleeping Beauty is here until 14 January. Buy tickets now at Norwich Theatre Royal.