Nick keeps it nasty for panto role

EASTENDERS Nasty Nick will be at his most evil this winter. John Altman, who plays the Albert Square bad guy, will be playing the part of Abanazar in The Gordon Craig Theatre s Christmas Pantomime Aladdin and he s looking forward to getting reacquainted

EASTENDERS' Nasty Nick will be at his most evil this winter.

John Altman, who plays the Albert Square bad guy, will be playing the part of Abanazar in The Gordon Craig Theatre's Christmas Pantomime Aladdin and he's looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Stevenage public.

Speaking to The Comet about the show he said: "I'm very much looking forward to it. I've done pantomime in Stevenage before about 10 years or so ago when we did Dick Whittington and I was King Rat. There was big ship in it and it was great fun.

"There's a great old tradition at Stevenage. I like the size of the auditorium at Stevenage it's not too big. At Canterbury, although they are changing it now it's very big and that makes it harder.

"The intimacy of The Gordon Craig Theatre lends itself to panto and you can reach people a lot easier.

"Also people go back to the panto at The Gordon Craig year after year. They're a lively lot down in Stevenage."

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John is no stranger to the part of Abanazar and is hoping he gets the opportunity to play some tricks on the unsuspecting audience.

"I've played him before, he's a shady Egyptian magician so hopefully I'll get to play a few tricks on people and terrify them even more. I'm hoping to get lots of boos because I wouldn't be doing my job otherwise."

He added: "I think it was in Stevenage once, that a lady bought her son back afterwards to show him I wasn't the nasty man he'd seen on stage but I still had my costume and make-up on and as soon as he saw me he burst into tears and held onto his mum's skirt as tight as he could. It was well intentioned but it backfired!

Panto is all about making kids believe what they see is real."

The Gordon Craig Theatre has a long tradition with pantomime and John believes there are several reasons why it is so popular.

"It's an old tradition and combines the good old English humour, that carry on used - the sort of postcard humour."

"It's a family event at a festive time in a long grey winter. It's a relief all round at quite a stressful time of the year and it's allows people to go out and boo and hiss and cheer and let it all out."

John has been heavily involved in the EastEnders storyline of late and recently went out in a blaze of glory as the caf� was blown up a scene he says he had great fun filming.

"I'm ending my time there and it's been fun," he said.

"I got very close and got very hot. It was exciting - I was inches away from the flames but it was all done very safely. We had the Harrow fire brigade on hand to make sure it was all safe.

"The stunt guys have these pipes that they feed gas through and they move them around that make it look like there's a big fire."

Aladdin runs from Saturday, November 28 to Sunday, January 24, 2010.

With lavish costumes, stunning sets and amazing effects this is a pantomime that should not be missed. Family fun for all ages, be sure to be part of the magic this Christmas.

Performance times vary and tickets start at �12.50. For more information or to book call the box office on 08700 131 030 or visit

Discounts are available for schools or group bookings.

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