‘Norwich is just the best’ - Brendan Cole on returning to the city and life after Strictly
- Credit: FIONA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHY
He first graced our television screens as a fresh faced dancer on Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 and 15 years on Brendan Cole is still entertaining thousands of people with his moves.
Controversially dropped from the hit BBC show in 2018, the New Zealander is now back on the road with his latest theatre tour Show Man.
Here he tells Jessica Long what fans can expect from the movie influenced production and why he loves coming back to Norwich.
You are more than half way through the tour now, how is it going?
Amazing! We are having a ball which is good as you want to have a good time on a tour like this. It's a great cast, we have 20 people touring so we are having a good time and the show is going very well. It has been very well received and it has got some good reviews so I couldn't be happier.
This is your eleventh tour now, what can people expect from this one compared to what you have done before?
We have stuck with the same format for the past 10 years but this one is much more theatrical. We use a lot more influence from movies such as The Greatest Showman, La La Land and even Footloose. There is bit more of a storyline through some of the dances, not the entire show, but we have certain numbers together which have a rolling storyline which I really enjoy and people can get into the mindset of what we are achieving on the stage.
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Do you have a live band and singers touring with you?
Yes, we have got nine in the band and two singers. I think the live music element is something that is really special. A lot of the shows don't do it these days as it's a huge cost. It's quite funny as the fourth number in is Purple Rain and it is a full on rock solo by the guitarist which is just amazing and the audience don't expect what they get. That's a really nice thing to see because there is so much power and energy in music and the audience is getting all aspects of theatre and art on the stage.
How is live theatre different to performing on Strictly?
The thing with being on Strictly is that you are one person in a fairly big cog of a TV production crew all putting this one show together with a multi-million pound budget. Whereas with a theatre production you have limits to what you can spend because you have only got a certain amount of people coming through the door that can make you your money so that limits what production you can put in. But then you have to be creative and because it is my show, not something I'm coming along to, it's really important to me to make it the best possible show it can be.
Norwich is one of the only places on the tour with a double show day, have you always enjoyed coming to the city?
Norwich is just the best! We have always had incredible support there as you can sometimes put on a double show and if you half fill both of them that's a really bad thing. But every time in Norwich we seem to fill the theatre with both shows and it's a fantastic feeling. The lovely thing about it is that they are wanting to be there. It sells very very fast and we could probably do a week there if we wanted to as they just seem to want to come to this type of show. I must have put on at least 20 to 30 shows there over the last 10 years and every single time which have pretty much sold out which is a lovely feeling.
What was it like not being involved with Strictly Come Dancing last year?
At first it was a quite a tricky thing to watch. When you have been a part of something for 15 years and helped make it what it was and then not to be there it did feel a little strange. The launch show was particularly hard to watch. I had to watch it as I was doing a column for Hello so that was interesting having to watch it every week, otherwise I would have dipped in and out rather than watching the whole thing. But it was very interesting seeing it form an outside point of view when you know what is going on behind the scenes. It was a little weird at first but when it got into it, it felt like it was a different show to the one I knew.
Have you got any exciting projects lined up for 2019?
There is a TV series that I filmed last summer which is coming out in the Spring. We are doing a route from Canterbury down to Rome, walking, and that was an incredible series to be a part of. There was eight of us on the road doing this journey and understanding each other and there is a slight religious tone to it and I am anti-religion so it was an interesting trip to take.
Brendan Cole Showman, Norwich Theatre Royal, Saturday 23 March, performances at 3pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £10-£41.50 from the box office on 01603 630000 or online at www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk