‘It wouldn’t be Christmas without panto’ says Blackburn Empire star Lucy Kane
PANTOMIME has been part of Lucy Kane’s Christmas routine ever since she was a little girl.
Currently starring as Cinderella at Blackburn’s Empire Theatre, Lucy grew up not quite knowing where Christmas would be spent every year. That’s because as the daughter of actress and model Linda Lusardi and actor and director Sam Kane, she would have to go wherever her parents were working in panto.
“It would feel weird to not have a panto going on at Christmas because throughout my whole childhood we would stay at school, mum and dad would leave, Christmas break would happen and we’d get driven up to whatever part of the country they were in and we’d spend three weeks there and then we’d go back to school,” she said.
“We didn’t often spend Christmas Day at home, it was more usually spent in digs wherever they were working. But it’s about who you are with not where you are so it doesn’t really matter.”
Lucy occasionally had a panto part as a child and at 18 appeared in her first professional festive show.
“I did a few on my own but I have done five or six now with mum,” she said.
This year Linda is Fairy Godmother to Lucy’s Cinders.
“I love doing panto with mum,” said Lucy, who many may remember for her appearances on The Voice when she was chosen by Tom Jones in the TV talent show.
“You are away for six weeks over the Christmas period which is all about being with the ones that you love, so when you are doing them on your own it can be a little bit lonely,” said Lucy. “So to have mum here and spending so much time together is fun; we are literally best friends anyway.
“It is so much easier and less stressful when you walk into a room and you don’t know anyone when you’ve got your mum with you.
“But that does depends on your relationship with your mum,” she laughed, “but we’re very lucky.”
On stage family ties have to be put to one side and a professional approach adopted. Or at least that’s what happens most of the time.
“You do have to switch into professional mode but there are things that she’ll do which I’ll laugh at that no-one else will find funny because they’ve not even noticed it.,” said Lucy. “Where she’s being nice like this year it will be easier to be in professional mode but when she’s the wicked queen which she often is and has to shout things in my face she’ll do stuff to deliberately set me off. She manages some times but not very often.”
This is Lucy and Linda’s first time in Blackburn and the intimate surroundings of the Empire Theatre.
Linda Lusardi on the magic of panto
“I’ve never worked at a theatre where the audience are so close,” she said. “It works really well with the children in the audience. They they get to join in. They don’t have to sit quietly and be polite; they can join in and get to shout and cheer, it’s good fun.”
Panto is Lucy’s break from working as a songwriter and singer for the rest of the year. She has been backing singer for Louise recently and has a publishing deal as a songwriter.
And this is the area she feels she wants to concentrate on even though she was successful on The Voice.
“I learned so much and off back of that I was signed and started writing my catalogue so it opened so many doors for me,” she said. “As terrifying as it was, I adored the experience, it was brilliant.
“You walk out in complete silence staring at chairs that you know your idols are sat in. It’s the most bizarre feeling. No-one turned round for me and I was right at the end of the song. I just closed my eyes and went for the last note. When I opened them Tom Jones was staring at me, I just burst into tears.”
So what was he like as a mentor.
“He was the complete gentleman,” said Lucy. “He name drops left right and centre but then he has worked with everybody.”
Lucy was approached to take part in The Voice and went into it with her eyes open.
“I just wanted to get past the red chair stage,” she said “I know it sounds convenient because I went out the next round but I feel that’s the bit people watch and remember.”
Cinderella, Blackburn Empire Theatre, until New Year's Eve. Details from www.blackburnempire.com