Star Q&A: Craig Revel Horwood

Round & About

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Craig Revel Horwood, 57, is excited about bringing Strictly Ballroom The Musical back to the stage on a UK tour, which includes Reading’s Hexagon, 16th-21st January & Guildford’s G Live, 20th-30th December

Q. Hello Craig! Can you tell us about this show, which you’ve directed and co-choreographed?

“Audiences are in for a night of laughter and comedy, with an insight into the ballroom world. It’s a glimpse backstage, which is very different to the smiles when dancers are performing. Most people see this happy, smiley world of people dancing together but when they come off stage they maybe have family issues to deal with or issues with each other. Strictly Ballroom lifts the curtain on all that whilst also being really funny and having such a strong central love story, plus there’s lots of glitz and glamour and beautiful costumes. I am absolutely delighted to be directing the amazing Kevin Clifton and the sensational Maisie Smith, together with our super talented cast in Strictly Ballroom The Musical – I know that they’ll all be FAB-U-LOUS! Expect some sexy moves, sizzling costumes and a simply sensational evening!”

Q. You left Australia in 1988 to forge a career in the UK, and I’ve read that the film Strictly Ballroom was a pivotal moment for you?

“I hadn’t really been home since leaving and when I saw the movie it made me feel really homesick. I absolutely loved it and it’s become one of those go-to films that I watch every Christmas. It cheers me up. So when the opportunity came up to direct it I didn’t hesitate. I’m passionate about all kinds of dance and this show is the perfect vehicle for me to explore that.”

Q. The show features songs by Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect, I believe?

“You’re going to see huge dance numbers and fantastic duets, with tunes that people know and love, as well as new music written specifically for the show which is equally brilliant. It’s mixing the old and the new.”

Q. How have people’s perceptions of ballroom changed over the years?

“People perhaps didn’t understand the world of ballroom dancing when the film Strictly Ballroom came out. Since the advent of Strictly Come Dancing they get what it’s all about. They realise that it’s full of very strict rules that the dancers all have to adhere to but Scott wants to break those rules, just as Fran wants to break the rules of flamenco. When they come together they also end up falling in love. That’s what makes it such a compelling and uplifting show.”

strictlyballroomtour.co.uk

Star Q&A: Hayley Mills

Liz Nicholls

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Oscar-winning actress Hayley Mills, 76, talks about life & loves ahead of starring in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre, 15th-19th November

Q. You’ve had such a varied career. What have been your highlights? “The first film I ever made was Tiger Bay with my father [John]; a masterclass in film acting. I didn’t go to drama school, which I probably should have done later, but I was lucky to work with some incredible actors, my father included. I’m also very proud of some of the plays and musicals over the years. I love a challenge because it frightens the life out of me.”

Q. Do you feel enough stories are being told about the older generation? “No. People think ‘old people are boring’. But I’m in my 70s and I don’t feel as if I am that age, and I realise that’s how other old people feel too. We don’t feel old at all. [Laughs] We just look it and that’s why we all avoid the mirror.”

Q. What attracted you to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? “I loved the script and there wasn’t a shadow of a doubt about wanting to do it. I love the play, the writing, the part and I’m mad about the director Lucy Bailey. It’s a wonderful play and Deborah Moggach is a great writer. Like most people, I had seen the film and there’s something about the story that just gets you. It’s very truthful. It’s a reminder that where there’s life there’s hope.”

There’s something about the story that just gets you. It’s very truthful. It’s a reminder that where there’s life there’s hope.

Q. Can you relate to Evelyn, the character you play? “Absolutely. She’s such a beautifully written character and I can relate to her age, plus the fact we all look back on our lives realising we’ve made mistakes. One of my least favourite songs is Frank Sinatra’s My Way. It’s so smug! Who can really say ‘Regrets, I have a few but then again too few to mention’? You’d have to be in your own very selfish bubble.”

Q. Dame Judi Dench played Evelyn in the film version. Is it daunting in her footsteps? “If I dwelled upon it then yes, but I don’t. I briefly thought about watching the film again but I decided ‘no’. She is such a wonderful actress and I couldn’t begin to play it the way she does. That’s what is so fascinating about this business: everyone brings their own experiences and understanding to a role. But Judi is a consummate actress. I could watch her all day, even reading the telephone directory.”

Q. Can you relate to the theme of starting over or have you had a pretty steady ride? “[Laughs] Come on! Life is not a steady ride for anybody. My goodness, there are peaks and valleys, ups and downs, feast and famine. You have to weather the storms.”

Q. Have you worked with any of your co-stars before? “I haven’t. I’ve known Rula [Lenska] for years from bumping into each other but I’ve never worked with her. I’ve seen Paul Nicholas’ work over the years but not worked with him either. It’s fun meeting people you’ve admired and getting to be in a show together.”

Q. What do you hope audiences take away from seeing the show? “I hope they’ll feel infused with optimism and hope about the future as well as the belief that life really is what you make it. There are so many things dragging us down in the world today. We’re going through dire straits but then when you look back over history you see what people went through in the First and Second World Wars, the Depression, what have you. The world has gone through some very tough times but I believe in the goodness of the human race.”

Get your tickets for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre

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