The Malta Independent 4 October 2022, Tuesday
View E-Paper

Getting to know Alan Montanaro

Stephen Calleja Sunday, 24 July 2022, 11:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

Alan Montanaro is arguably Malta funniest current actor. His lankiness and often clumsy coordination make him a perfect choice for certain roles. Alan has done it all in theatre but comedy seems to come natural to him.

Alan’s name has become synonymous with the local pantomime scene, earning him the nickname of “Pantonaro”. 

Alan is director of the acclaimed Helen O'Grady Drama Academy for Malta and the whole of Africa, developing young children through creative education.


What was the last book you read?

Child 22

Who is your favourite author?

I don’t have a favourite, but a special mention to JK Rowling for introducing a couple of generations to the joy of reading.

What was the last film you watched?  

Good Luck to you, Rep Grande

Which film have you seen multiple times and enjoyed every time you saw it?

Hmm… I think it would have to be Jesus Christ Superstar. It was also the first film rated 16 that I managed to sneak into and remember wondering why the hell it was even rated!

Who is your favourite actor/actress?

It fluctuates. At the moment I am a little in love with Emma Thompson

What is your favourite TV series?

Many! But I like a little bit of thriller to cheer me up before bed so I’ll have to go with House of Cards.

What is your favourite game or sport to watch and play?

I haven’t played sports since school and even then I wasn’t very good.  I watch football. Sometimes … but only the big games: there’s something to be said of twenty-two 20 year old multi-millionaires chasing a ball.

Which team do you support?


Which song would you sing at a karaoke night?

It would probably be an Elton John oldie. Maybe Jennie and the Jets if I was inebriated enough.

Who is your favourite singer/band?

I don’t have one – and that’s a good thing cause my range of favourites is wide. At the moment I’m listening to Genesis Live in Berlin. Yesterday it was Lizzo.


Which show/event would you like to attend/have attended? 

Every year my friends and I talk about going to the Eurovision – not so much for the actual show, but for the cosmopolitan atmosphere of people all there to have a good time.  I would have loved to have watched Freddy Mercury perform at Live Aid.

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

Assuming there’s good wifi connection on the deserted island and a charger: my laptop, a fishing rod and a stick-proof frying pan

Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?

Hands down … sight. Been thinking of having laser treatment to return to 20:20 vision. Any sponsors?  I’m a celebrity. I’ll endorse your billboards.

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

Deep-friend tarantula, boiled cocoons, crocodile, snake…. I’m pretty adventurous.

What is that one thing you could not go a day without? 

I presume you want something a little more exciting than a shower, so I would have to say “a laugh”

Which fictional character do you relate to most?

Anything played by Hugh Laurie somehow – including Dr House.

Do you check your horoscope?


What age would you choose if you could be one age forever?

32 (no reason)

What invention would you erase from history?

The bomb

Would you like to know the day when you will die?

Not really… I’d rather live each day like it’s the last


What's your favourite animal?

It used to be the cat …. until I got a dog.  If you mean wild animals, then it’s hands down, a snow tiger, so it’s kind of back to cat.

What's your favourite type of foreign food? 

Indian.  Hands down. And I don’t just mean the dishes you get at your local Indian restaurant, I mean the real stuff.

What is your favourite hobby? 

No time for hobbies (I hate that word). I sometimes dabble with gardening which can be relaxing when it’s not 34C

What's your favourite season?

Springtime – but that seems to be getting shorter and shorter as we flip from winter to scorching summer within a day or two.

What's your favourite ice cream topping?

Maybe a sprinkling of pistachios

What's your favourite board game?

I love a game of backgammon. Chess with the right person.  With my friends it’s “guess that tune”

What is your favourite pizza?

Not a big fan – which is lucky since I have coeliac disease (which sucks) which means no gluten for me: no pizza, no pasta, no cake, no marmite.

What is your favourite colour?

Again, it depends for what. I love the turquoise of clean sea, but for home décor it would be earthy colours

What is your favourite pasta dish?

Sigh! See above – but if I had to mention one it would be a very arrabbiata one.

What is your favourite cartoon show?

I would have to say “Cow and Chicken”, but I just watched SING 2 (brilliant).


What did you like to do most during the summer holidays?

I lived in the best part of the world, Sliema, and after an early lunch we would help with the chores, drape a towel round our neck and spend the next 5 hours at the beach with no protection and not a care in the world. We’d then rush home, have a bite to eat, shower and head back down to meet our friends. Those days were really good.

What career did you see yourself in when you were young?

As a child, I had dreams of being a big movie star and, although I never made it to the silver screen, I kind of achieved that in a small way.

What is your best childhood memory?

Travelling for the first time to visit my aunt in Israel. A seed was definitely sown.

Did you learn how to ride a bike?

I did, and then got arrested for driving one without a licence so never drove one again – apart from an electric bike on my travels.

Who was your super hero?

I didn’t really have one. Though my dad was pretty close

Which toy do you wish to have kept? 

I had an Action Man.  Wish I’d kept him in his box and never touched him – he’d be worth a mint by now.

What subject did you excel in at school?

English – the fact that I had an excellent teacher helped a lot (you know who you are, JC)

What subject did you dislike the most in school?

Mathematics – I used to be great at maths, but then we had a nasty, uninspired and uninspiring teacher

Was there some family tradition that was never missed?

Sunday lunch at my mums

What are the best values you owe to your parents?

I like to think I have an open mind that is understanding, even embracing, of the differences of others. I love different outlooks – it makes life so much more colourful. On the flip side, I have a very low tolerance threshold for bullies and those who remain ignorant by choice.


What would you change about yourself if you could?

I don’t know if there is anything I would change outright because it’s taken a few decades of ups and downs and life experiences to reach here, but I wouldn’t mind increasing my tolerance levels of the things I perceive to be ugly of my country because it does grind me down. It grinds me down because I see the potential of beauty smothered.

What really makes you angry?

Any cruelty to animals – and that includes trapping and hunting. Useless. Barbaric.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Always half full

Are you a sore loser?

In games I can be. In life … I get up, brush my knees and move on to the next challenge.

What is your biggest regret?

I wish I’d had the courage to pack my bags to London or Australia when in my 20s. I wonder how different my life would be had I done that.

What’s the first thing you look for in a partner and/or friend?

I need someone to be a ying to my yang. Thankfully I already have that.

What is your greatest fear?

A long drawn death because when I do go, I don’t want it to be a relief

What is your life motto? 

Make it matter

If you had a warning label, what would yours say? 

Don’t Act Like You Know Me. Often people expect me to be that person they saw on stage. They can sometimes get in my space and I need just a tiny bit of time to acclimatize. I don’t bite – I just need a moment.

What's one thing that can instantly make your day better?

Good news. No matter how trivial it may be.


If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you do or buy?

I would set me up so I can travel as much as possible for as long as possible

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

Lady Di to find out what really happened, Marylin Monroe for the glamour, Oscar Wilde for the wit and Jesus Christ for his story-telling and to keep that wine flowing.

If you could bring one person back from the dead who’d it be?

Right now, at this present moment and assuming I can’t bring family members back, I’ll have to go with David Bowie, Prince, Freddy or maybe Michael Jackson.

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

Oh, that’s my idea of heaven. I’m very curious by nature and would love to time travel to the good, the bad and the ugly if I’m honest. I would travel to Hagar Qim when it was under construction, then straight on to the Great Siege of 1565 stopping maybe for a quick Roman orgy along the way, before catching a party in 1920s Berlin.

If you could relive one moment in your life, which would it be?

Every curtain call at the end of a successful show

If you could live anywhere outside Malta, where would it be?

Good question. Portugal and Mallorca sound wonderful … however I am acutely aware of being happier in the 3rd world. People there are simply more authentic and, strangely, happier. South Africa is an option too.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Rice salad with all the works

If you could know the truth behind a secret or mystery, which would it be?

There are quite a few local ones I would like to know – but let’s leave that there.

If you could eliminate one of the seven deadly sins, which one would it be?

Greed.  With gluttony and sloth tied in second place.

If you had to be given a superpower, what would you choose?



Coffee or tea? 

One coffee… and then on to teas

Walk or swim?


Summer or winter?


Italy or England?


Restaurant or delivery?


Early bird or night owl?

Night owl

Fish or meat?


Mobile phone or TV?

Mobile phone – you can do more with it

Black or white? 


Film or TV series? 

TV series


  • don't miss