Comics need to act for the dramatic scenes to work, actors need to break the forth wall and clown in slapstick scenes.
I was recently asked how as a clown I fit into the pantomime, but the clown has always been at the heart of pantomime right from the start in Drury lane with Joseph Grimaldi. Over the centuries panto has evolved, but the clown routines have remained and music hall clowns often had the most success. This is why I feel so at home being in panto but at the same time I have to respect the other disciplines involved and must respect the story for the drama to work and for the children to truly believe it.
Being in panto means you have to be able to adapt and not be precious, you have to be prepared to take the nap (slang for being slapped) the custard pie in the face or for myself be prepared to sing a straight song, this for me was quite difficult as I’m used to falling off ladders falling into buckets of slosh* etc but what may seem the simplest thing for much of the cast I find the hardest.
Pantomime for me is about having fun and letting the audience into that fun world but something you have to be careful of is where the line of having fun ends and when it just becomes self indulgent, when you’re having more fun than the audience that’s a clue to move on.
So to conclude anyone thinking of taking part in pantomime be prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone, to work very hard ( averaging 12 shows a week) and most importantly to have lots of fun.
*Slosh is what the messy scenes in panto are called usually soap is used the most famous routine is the decorators, where two people attempt to hang some wallpaper and end up in a huge mess.