Why Rufus wants to be Hound the horrible in Peterborough panto

Comedian turned stage star Rufus Hound makes his panto debut in Peterborough next month... and he is really looking forward to shouting at children and being downright horrible!

Sunday, 14th November 2021, 6:31 am
Rufus Hound will be playing Abanazar at New Theatre this festive season
Rufus Hound will be playing Abanazar at New Theatre this festive season

Rufus will be starring as Abanazar in New Theatre’s festive offering Aladdin, from December 15-30, and is relishing the role of the panto villain.

“The thing that I am looking forward, what you get licence to do, is just to be out and out horrible,” he said.

“The great panto villains don’t like being there, don’t like the cast , don’t like the audience and don’t like the town and they want to tell you about it.

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“Every character comes on and says: ‘hello boys and girls, having a lovely time aren’t we?’

“But every time the villain turns up it is like: “Oh it is you horrible lot again, I thought I had you all put on spikes by now....’

“You can’t underestimate how hard it is to be charming on stage, so when you get given the chance to go out and be the opposite of that, what a treat, yes please!”

He admits to being a fan of panto, which he described as couple of hours of technicolour wonder, and added: “ You don’t get to any age without knowing panto and to an extent loving panto. It wears it heart on its sleeve and it wants to please you, entertain you and give you a break from the horrors of the world outside.

“I got asked to do panto – it is a machine built to fill a theatre with love and joy, who would not want to be part of that? And it is the chance to be the villain and strut around the stage telling kids they smell and are terrible!”

Rufus has enjoyed a near 20 year career as a performer – doing stand-up and presenting as well as putting together an impressive CV of theatre achievements in the West End.

So how did he get into the business and end up a stage star?

“When I was three my dad videod The Muppet Show on television and we watched it, well I watched it, to the point where I could recite whole episodes.

“And by the time I had got all the moves down to Rudolf Nureyov singing ‘Putting On My Top Hat’ I decided that the only thing really worth doing in life was some type of performing or other. So from that point onwards that is what I knew I wanted to do.

“ I got to 19 knowing that is what I wanted to do and at 19 my family had run out of money so there was no drama college or training or anything like that, and I realised at that point it was the pipedream of a child.”

Luckily for Rufus and his legion of fans that wasn’t the end of things though.

“Now the good thing about stand-up, and comedy was always the thing I had loved most, is that stand-up has no barrier for entry,” he added.

“You don’t have to have done any training –you can phone a stand-up night up and say I would like to do five minutes and just get up and do five minutes.

“So having gone out with a woman who went to a lot of stand-up as part of her job, I was like: ‘I am never going to be as good as the greats but I am not going to be as bad as half of the people starting out’.

“It had always been a case of I know showing off, I know standing in front of audiences and saying the words so that by the time stand-up took off and led to TV, when theatre came knocking 10 years down the line it really felt like: ‘of course I want to do that, it’s something I’ve been waiting to do all my life’.”

And so to panto and Aladdin at the New Theatre .

Read the interview with Bobby Crush who is playing the Dame.

Read the interview with Ricky K who is playing Wishee Washee