Grease is currently touring the UK and visits The Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, 23 July – 27 August 2019. Starring local actor Will Haswell as Johnny Casino, The Enquirer caught up with him for a chat.
You have Essex roots can you tell us how you are connected to Essex and where you were born and raised?
I was born in St. Johns hospital in Chelmsford (that’s no longer standing) and my family still live in Chelmsford too.
Are you looking forward to performing in Essex again and does it have any significance for you?
I am really excited to be performing in Southend as when I was younger me and my family would go to the Cliffs Pavilion to watch touring shows. We used to go all the time and to the panto as well. Having toured before it’s a theatre I’ve not performed in so I’m really looking forward to performing there. It’ll be quite nostalgic having watched so many shows there over the years.
Tell us about the character that you are playing in Grease?
I play Johnny Casino in the show. So Johnny is the number 1 chart topper at the time of the Halloween hop and sings at the dance. He’s kind of like the warm up act before the brilliant Vince Fontaine (played incredibly by Darren Bennet) makes an appearance to judge the Hand Jive Dance Contest.
How is the show going so far?
The show so far is going brilliantly. Audiences are responding so well to our new grittier and truthful version of Grease. It’s still got all the classic songs you’d expect but it’s just a new, great version. There really is something for everyone.
Is there any particular challenges the show presents to you as an actor?
I think a big challenge in the process of making the show was having a continuity in your characterisation throughout the piece. For example other productions of Grease have always felt like the script stops and big jazz numbers happen and then you’re back into the scene afterwards. Whereas our production the characters stay throughout. So within the dance numbers you never lose sight of these kids, who really didn’t have a lot in the south side of Chicago. They just made do with what they had.
Do you find touring fun?
The show is great fun and we’re all incredibly lucky to have such a close knit bunch cast and crew to be touring the UK with. The people are great. It’s such a lovely thing to be able to do, travel around seeing bits of the country you might not have seen before and exploring places and doing different activities with a fun bunch! Especially on tour you become sort of a family as you spend all your time with everyone so it’s brilliant to have an awesome bunch to hang around with.
What else have you got planned for 2019/2020?
Who knows what’s next just having a cracking time on this right now.
Peter Andre is also making a special guest apperance as Teen Angel and due to popular demand he will now be apperaring in both Friday shows as well as the sold out Wednesday and Thursday performances.
To book tickets call the Cliffs Pavilion
box office 01702 351135 or book online at www.southendtheatres.org.uk
Photo credit Manuel Harlan