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Milkshake star set to sprinkle a little magic in panto debut

PUBLISHED: 16:34 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:54 04 December 2018

Festive fun at The Forum Christmas tree switch on with Kiera-Nicole Brennan, who is the Genie from Norwich Theatre Royal’s Aladdin. Photo: Zoe Ford, The Forum

Festive fun at The Forum Christmas tree switch on with Kiera-Nicole Brennan, who is the Genie from Norwich Theatre Royal’s Aladdin. Photo: Zoe Ford, The Forum

The Forum

Milkshake presenter Kiera-Nicole Brennan is set to enter a whole new world this Christmas as she stars in her first pantomime at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Genie, played Kiera-Nicole Brennan, left, and Princess Willow, played by Anna Hannides, during a rehearsal of the Theatre Royal's panto Aladdin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGenie, played Kiera-Nicole Brennan, left, and Princess Willow, played by Anna Hannides, during a rehearsal of the Theatre Royal's panto Aladdin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Kiera-Nicole will appear as the Genie alongside Rik Makarem as Abanazar, best known for playing Nikhil Sharma in Emmerdale, Hollyoaks star Steven Roberts as Aladdin and Norwich Theatre Royal panto favourite Richard Gauntlett as Widow Twankey.

Meeting Kiera-Nicole, it is clear she is hugely grateful for the role and her bubbly personality and positive outlook on life is infectious.

With clearly such a strong work ethic, it is no surprise The BRIT School alumni was the youngest presenter of Channel 5 children’s show Milkshake in its history when she joined in 2017, aged 18.

She is looking forward to playing the role of the Genie as a woman as it is a role usually played by a man and is associated with the late Robin Williams who lent his comedic genius to the part in the 1992 Disney film.

Are you excited to play the Genie in Aladdin?

I’m really excited as it is my first panto and a really big one and also to play the Genie which is normally seen as a male figure.

The Genie is full of character and always smiling and I think I could really bring that to the role and play it larger than life.

Will a lot of the children recognise you from Milkshake?

I hope so, I’ve had quite a few appearances at schools and had a really big reaction from it and at shopping centres I get recognised too.

Norwich Theatre Royal panto stars Rik Makerem as Abanazar and Kiera-Nicole Brennan as the Genie Credit: Antony KellyNorwich Theatre Royal panto stars Rik Makerem as Abanazar and Kiera-Nicole Brennan as the Genie Credit: Antony Kelly

From your experience working on children’s TV, do you think you’ll find it easy to connect with the audience?

I’m going to take it really naturally and I see all the audience as my friends who I’m performing for and that is what I do on Milkshake too.

It comes across in a really natural way and they don’t feel forced to interact with me.

READ MORE: Emmerdale star Rik Makarem can’t wait to play a panto baddie in Norwich

How did you get the job on Milkshake at such a young age?

I went to The BRIT School and it was an amazing four years of my life and opened doors to a lot of things.

I started doing creative design and technology and dance as a GCSE then I went into radio too but eventually I was told I needed to choose between media or dance and musical theatre, but I always wanted to do more than one thing and be in front of and behind the camera.

I then asked at school if they could help me with my media CV and it kicked off from there and I gained experience at the BBC, including BBC Radio 1 Extra, and at Milkshake as a production assistant full time and then recording as a presenter one day a week.

We would do two weeks worth of filming in two days so it was really diving into the deep end.

I looked at other presenters and took tips off them as they have to take five different voices in their ears while presenting as there are no prompters to tell us what to say.

Norwich Theatre Royal panto stars Rik Makerem as Abanazar and Kiera-Nicole Brennan as the Genie Credit: Antony KellyNorwich Theatre Royal panto stars Rik Makerem as Abanazar and Kiera-Nicole Brennan as the Genie Credit: Antony Kelly

I didn’t have time for dance but now I do and it is pretty chilled until the end of the year and rehearsals start again.

READ MORE: I’m A Celebrity star Emily Atack to bring comedy show to Norwich

What has been the secret to your success in the industry?

When I was younger I didn’t think I’d follow this career path, I thought I would be modelling or doing dance.

Having people around me and support me has really helped as if my mum didn’t tell me to try something else and have a back up I never would have done radio, then would have no media experience and wouldn’t have got onto Milkshake and I wouldn’t be in Aladdin.

What do you think of your costume in Aladdin?

It’s amazing, I keep talking about it and I don’t want to take it off as it has beautiful colours which all go nicely together, it is so sparkly which is what I’m all about.

Finally, if you had your own Genie and could have three wishes what would they be?

More genies, meaning more wishes, love, success and happiness for all my family and friends and endless ice cream.

Aladdin is at Norwich Theatre Royal from December 12 to January 13 and you can purchase tickets at the box office, online or by phone on 01603 630000.

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