St Helen’s Theatre Royal: An Interview with Louis Emerick as Captain Hook
Louis Emerick is back at home this Christmas and playing Captain Hook at St Helen’s Theatre Royal and shares his thoughts on the magic of panto!
This isn’t your first panto, so what keeps you coming back?
Well first of all, it’s nice to be asked! I do think it’s the magic of panto though and particularly in this one. I’m playing Captain Hook and most “baddies” traditionally turn good at the end, but he doesn’t and right until the crocodile eats him, he’s evil and I love that! Also because it’s St Helen’s Theatre, which is a fantastic theatre and family run – they’re pantos are the talk of the land, and I’m not just saying that, but I know people who’ve been in them and I’ve been to see them! They are brilliant and I am so excited and humbled to be part of this one.
What’s your best panto moment over the years?
I think up until now it would have to be the one at the Empire, in my home city and again playing Hook. I have to say I stepped out across the road a few times just to see my photo up there! If you’d asked me as a kid if you’d see me as you walk past, I’d have said “No chance!” That has to be my best moment.
Have you ever had any panto mishaps?
One time – in fact, I think it was at the Empire! – I came on without my hook [playing Hook] and so I just pointed my finger very sternly at Peter and thankfully somebody went to the wings and threw me the hook on! Hopefully I won’t have too many of them this time!
Why did this production appeal to you?
Because Jane and Chantelle, their pantos really are legendary! It was a no brainer really, I didn’t have to think twice about it. It also means I’m home, so I can spend Christmas with my family and be in my own bed at night and also my kids can come and see it, so it just fitted perfectly really.
If you had a fairy godmother, what would your one wish be?
Invisibility, so I could see who was talking about me!
What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?
As you get older and become an adult, I think Christmas can sometimes lose its magic and become just another day, but when you’ve got children, you re-live the magic through their eyes! That’s what I’ve got now and getting to see their eyes light up – that’s what keeps the magic going.
The costumes are amazing! Is this the first time you’ve seen yours?
Aren’t they amazing?! This is the blingiest Hook you’ve ever seen! They’ll have to issue shades to everybody in the audience when they come in! Nobody’s sleeping when I’m coming on in this are they?!
What’s your favourite line in panto?
It’s not my favourite line, but I just want the “boos”! I say to the stage manager, “Have I made a little kid cry tonight?” because if I haven’t, I’ve not done my job! I want loads of “boos” though!
Pantos are traditionally very magical, so do you think it’s important we keep supporting panto to keep the magic for kids of all ages?
Oh definitely! For kids it’s their first foray into a theatre and I hate it when people criticise panto because it is magical. Seeing a kid’s eyes light up is just the best thing and long live that magic as far as I’m concerned!
How do you intend to keep the magic alive in this production?
Well, they’re written by Simon, who’s a regular Dame here, and I think he does such a great job at keeping the magic and the laughs, that my job’s easy really! He does a fantastic job and I’m sure he will this year!
Would you ever want to play the Dame role then?
I might be! Connor [McIntyre] and Les Dennis are playing the ugly sisters aren’t they this year? So, there’s a turn out for the books!
Photo Credits: David Munn Photography