Jan 03 2019. view 576
Mamma Mia! presented by Cinnamon Life had a very successful run and had audiences merrily singing along and having a great time. Without a doubt, due credit must be given to the amazing cast that brought the characters and the show alive. Doing justice to their roles were Lucy May Barker who played Sophie Sheridan, as well as her three - potential - dads, Daniel Crowder as wealthy, buttoned up conservative Harry Bright, Matthew Rutherford as travel writer Bill Austin and Tamlyn Henderson as architect Sam Carmichael. Having won over the audiences with their charming portrayals, excellent comedic timing and vocal performances, the quartet were as much of a hoot in person as they were on stage! Below are excerpts of the interview.
Most of you have had experience elsewhere before landing roles on Mamma Mia!.
Lucy: For me, this is definitely the most commercial, well known show. I think if you say Mamma Mia! to most people they will know it or recognize it. I've been doing lots of theatre and stuff before, but nothing as big as Mamma Mia! That's certainly the most recognized thing I've ever done.
Daniel: Um, same. I'm just a regular actor, so to bag a nice, big, healthy contract like Mamma Mia! is always a joy. I'm not a musical theatre actor, so to be able to sing - and to play the guitar. It's a joy. It's really great.
Matthew: Same as Dan, really. I'm in my mid 40s. I've been acting for the past 20-22 years. And to be able to perform in other countries is fantastic. I've done a couple of films abroad and I've worked in a theatre in Vienna and I've done a little bit of a tour around Europe with another theatre company. So to incorporate my passion in theatre and music to cast travelling is always very special. And I'm a family man too, so being married with two boys, the opportunity to get away and return to them has been a great bonus as well.
Tamlyn: I'd only recently moved to England - I'm Australian. So about a year before I got this job, I had moved to UK to meet my girlfriend, and before that we had been doing another international tour for Les Miserable. So yeah, like these guys, a mix of musical theatre and a small amount of TV for the last 18 years I guess. I'm slightly younger than these guys.
How was the experience of landing a role for such a popular jukebox musical such as Mamma Mia!?
Lucy: For me it's quite iconic. When I auditioned for the show, I didn't kind of see myself as Sophie. I always assumed that I would be cast as one of the friends. Basically what happens when you audition is, you do like a first round of just your own stuff to kind of shows off what you think shows you off best. And then they give you the script for a specific character, and then you audition for that specific character. Sk when I got the script and the songs for Sophie, I was a bit like ‘ooh. Are you sure?’. So yeah, it's been amazing. It's been lots of hard work because I don't really leave the stage, but it's been a fantastic challenge. I've learnt so much over the few years I've done it.
Daniel: I saw the show originally in 1999 when I was a boy, so I never thought I would be one of the dads. And then about 10 years ago some friends started to get parts in Mamma Mia! and I came to see them in it, and I was like oh. Maybe one day I could be a dad, and specifically, I wanted to be Harry. And so last year, I had a meeting with my agent, and I said I think I'm the right age now, so could you submit me for Mamma Mia! for the part of Harry, and he got me an audition and I got the part. So I've had my eye on it for a number of years and just so pleased and surprised to be cast in it.
Matthew: Well that's a real focused thing Dan, I think it's great! I had a friend who was like the second or third Sophie within the show and I was in another show at the same time and I remember thinking that it would be great to be involved. But I didn't realise it would, 20 years later. But like Dan said, it finding the casting to be correct in the moment. So it's great to be a part of it and fantastic that it's going strong.
Tamlyn: I don't really have a long story. I guess it was just my first big job since moving countries, so that was a big thing for me. Just that acknowledgement that you're moving from the youth casting bracket to the dads, it's always - you have to accept it.
So what does it feel like being a part of such a large ensemble cast?
Lucy: it certainly brings everyone together I think. And this year specifically for me is my third year doing the show. These guys, it's their first year. I'm a Mamma Mia! veteran by this point. I think certainly this year because we're travelling internationally, it does bring everyone together that little bit more because there are so many things to enjoy together. Obviously when you're in the UK it's kind of everything that you're used to. But internationally, things are done slightly differently and sometimes there are language barriers, which is kind of exciting, and to learn little different bits from all the cultures.
Daniel: I mean, it's a big family. We use that term a lot, but it is. There's around 50 of us travelling around the globe and so there's always someone to chat to of you fancy a chat, but we do have our own bedrooms, so we could and always escape and go on our own if we want. There's obviously sometimes you want some me time. But it's lovely and it's exciting.
What is the most challenging part in what you do?
Lucy: I think for me the stamina of having to do it 8 times a week. I've done jobs where I would have like 1 or two songs and to do that 8 times a week can be quite challenging but I think I'm in maybe 10 or twelve or something. And it's a lot. so that has been one of the things that is trusting when you're a bit sick - got a bit of a cough or a cold. That's been the most challenging thing for me - to kind of make sure I'm a 100% the whole time, because people spend their hard earned money on coming to see the show and yes it might be our 900th show, but for them, it's their first time.
Tamlyn: I was just going to add - the whole travelling situation. The tiredness due to so many flights and trying to get on different time zones. So you're trying to get on track as soon as possible so you're not feeling really dozey at the wrong times.
Matthew: it's been challenging to do some of the dances! There's some funny moments where I took a while just to get it into my head.
Tamlyn: You know it's meant to be funny -
Matthew: it's at the end - there's a moment where we twist our legs and turn around and I tripped over my own feet, literally, and that often happens, which is quite funny.
Daniel: Can I get my guitar story in?
Daniel: So Harry has to play the guitar on the show and I assumed it was mimed. But its not mimed, its LIVE!!, people reading your article! So I had to learn how to play the guitar and that was challenging because I can't play the guitar. I've never played the guitar in my life! So I had to learn how to play the guitar in four weeks to be ready to perform in Hull.
Matthew: And now he's like Eric Clapton! He does wonderful - he's amazing.
Sophie: I would say you're always too good at the guitar for it to be realistic.
Daniel: Harry's not played the guitar for 21 years and so I'm a little bit rusty.
Matthew: but everything is live
Tamlyn: it is actually live!
Daniel: It is all live. Nothing is pretend. Nothing is mimed.
I think I speak for all fans when I say that we all look forward to seeing you play that guitar! On that note, I'm sure you have all had performances that have been memorable in one way or the other.
Lucy: I think my most memorable was - my boyfriend at the time, Philip, who's in the show with us, he proposed to me in real life. So then after we got engaged, doing the show again, but as a real life engaged couple and when Sophie walks down the aisle to meet Skye at the very end of the show and doing that knowing that I would be doing that for real, that was my most memorable moment.
Matthew: That's a great story.
Daniel: I remember our very first performance, which was in Hull. And the first time we've ever been on stage and walking out and feeling that warmth from the audience recognizing who these people are because the film's so big and the music has been around for 20 years. So it's just a huge hug - I know it sounds a bit weird - from the audience when you come on, and they go, brilliant, here come the dads. It's a great feeling.
Tamlyn: Definitely agree.
Matthew: When actors come together and put on a show in front of a live audience that's when the adrenaline, the thrill and the kick of those initial performances and so that's so electric. So that feeling and sensation of getting up and being in that moment, that makes me feel very alive.
Pics Damith Wickramasinghe