Linda Lusardi Brings Pantomime Magic To Cinderella - Interview

Linda Lusardi in Cinderella
Actress and former glamour model Linda Lusardi is currently making wishes come true as the Fairy Godmother in Cardiff New Theatre's pantomime Cinderella, "It’s quite a change to me because I'm normally a Wicked Queen in Snow White or Carabeth in Sleeping Beauty. For me to be a Fairy Godmother is quite nice as I'm able to smile on stage and not get booed!"

Linda, along with her husband the actor and director Sam Kane have been pantomime regulars around the UK for the last 25 years and will be appearing on stage together in Cinderella, (Sam is playing an Ugly Sister alongside Mike Doyle as well as directing.)

"I think we work well together because he has so much to think about with all the different characters," says Linda of her on stage partnership with her husband, "sometimes I see things that he’s missed. Kids are the best because when ours were younger they would sit in on rehearsal and go "Mum that doesn't make sense and it would be something you've not even seen but children don’t miss a trick."

Linda took up acting following a successful modelling career in the 1980s "I wasn't a confident person even when I was modelling," she says, “Slowly as I got older I was offered different things. I was offered this play called Funny Peculiar. I didn't really know what I was doing but the director worked with me and by the end of the 12 week run I kind of got the knack of it. There were no microphones you had to project yourself on stage. From that, I was offered my first panto with Norman Wisdom in Dartford and that was it, that was Christmas for me. I just wanted to do panto every year."

Andy Howells meets Linda Lusardi
Linda met Sam when they appeared in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs at Darlington 20 years ago. "He was the Prince and I was Snow White,"she says. "My marriage was on the rocks and had been for a while and we'd basically become really good friends over that season. We remained in contact after my marriage split. I was in Llandudno in a wartime play and he came to see it and we went out for dinner and it was lovely. Twenty years on it still feels new."

Linda and Sam married in 1998 and have two children Jack and Lucy, both of whom are following their parent’s footsteps into the acting profession. Like Sam and Linda, Lucy is also appearing in pantomime this Christmas, but in Swindon with Nigel Havers.

Linda feels that the medium of pantomime is an important one for bringing families into the theatre, "We've had some people go "I've come every year for a good sleep because its just for the kids, but this year we've really loved it, we were into it as much as the kids!"

Of Cinderella which also stars Lee Mead, Gareth Thomas, Andy Jones, Holly Bluett and Mike Doyle, Linda says, "Its lavish and sparkly, we've got real ponies on stage for the carriage for the ball. Its spectacular."

Even though Linda is taking to the stage as the Fairy Godmother, I wonder if she'll have any Christmas wishes she'd like granting of her own. "That we don’t get stuck in by snow, " she replies, "I hate driving in the snow, as my daughter is in Swindon  I hope we can get over and pick her up for Christmas Day without any problems. if it goes smoothly its all I can hope for."
  • Extracts from this interview by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on December 19, 2014. 
  • To book tickets for Cinderella, which runs until January 15, 2015 visit Cardiff New Theatre's website.

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