We chatted to Vikki about writing her first pantomime, Aladdin for the Lyric Hammersmith.
Hi Vikki, how did you find the experience of writing a pantomime? I’ve absolutely loved it – I’ve been in a fair few pantomimes before (two of those were also at the Lyric Hammersmith), but this is my first time writing a Pantomime and it’s been a total gift and a joy.
What can we expect from this version of Aladdin? Personally, I think it’s very cool. But I’m now of an age where my concept of what’s cool is slipping away from me at an alarming pace, so I could be wrong. Best just come and see it for yourself to make that judgement.
Were there any challenges in writing Aladdin? This is going to sound like a very high brow thing to do for a panto, but the first thing I did when I got the job of writing this show was go back to the original text. I read a fantastic new translation of the original Aladdin story by Yasmine Seale, and learnt that many of the story beats I thought I knew, were actually ingrained in my consciousness because of Disney. For instance, in the original text Aladdin gets unlimited wishes, and spends a long time just wishing for food. So I think there’s gonna be some kids who come after me insisting my Aladdin is wrong because “there’s only three wishes”.
What do you love about pantomimes? For me, panto is the middle of the Venn diagram between stand-up and theatre, and I love how panto is able to respond more quickly to topical events than traditional theatre. I also love how baffling Panto is. If you pick it all apart, it really is an odd art form, and I’m 100% here for it.
What is next in store for you? I’ve got three (!) new musicals in development, and a TV show which goes into production soon. Can’t say much about any of them, but needless to say I am very happy to be busy after how the last couple of years have been for people in the arts.
By Emma Clarendon
Aladdin will continue to play at the Lyric Hammersmith until the 2nd January 2022.