Tom Hall, Wednesday 24 October 2012
The Watermill Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Noel Gay’s Radio Times: The Musical is revived for a 12 venue UK tour, coming to Richmond Theatre from Monday 5 to Saturday 10 November.
The actor musician cast is led by Gary Wilmot, who is playing the role of Sammy Shaw with Caroline Leslie directing the show. ‘She is absolutely great. It’s the second time I’ve worked with her’ Gary explains, ‘She really encourages you to contribute ideas and gives you little tips that could (and usually do) make all the difference.’
Radio Times: The Musical is a funny and fast moving musical set in wartime London. ‘There isn’t anything that can be compared to the show’ Gary assures me. ‘It’s all about getting through in the face of adversity.’ The show follows the tribulations of the BBC’s Variety Bandwagon cast who are about to broadcast live to America - but things begin to go wrong, people don’t show up and as the clock ticks, things begin to get a bit desperate. Luckily, at the eleventh hour, Sammy turns up with Gary Strong, a Hollywood movie idol. The broadcast seems assured but Olive James, Sammy’s girlfriend, knows the Gary of old and starts to question his commitment.
The show has received a large amount of critical acclaim; Gary explains why this is so: ‘It’s because the show is a complete piece. Everything is absolutely right – the costumes, the actors and actresses. People don’t have to know anything about the war to enjoy it. It’s real and that is what makes it so relatable.’ When compared to the reception he received for his performance in ‘Me and My Girl’, Gary explains ‘that was always my favourite but I must admit I have not had a reaction like this before (to Radio Times). Everybody I’ve talked to says they have felt very uplifted after watching the show. This reaction is like nothing I’ve experienced before. It really is an extraordinary show.’
Critics have highlighted the rapport between Sammy Shaw (played by Gary Wilmot) and Olive James (played by Sara Crowe). ‘She is a delight to work with, she is really great. But I would hate to pick out one person that has been good to work with – I’m just so humbled to be a part of it all. People who might have lost faith in the theatre should definitely come along to see it – I guarantee it will change their opinion.’
Some have even gone as far to say that Gary is perfect for the role of Sammy Shaw. He immediately discredits this remark, but does acknowledge the similarities, ‘some of the problems in life that Sammy goes through do resonate in my own life.’
One thing that is for sure is that Gary is looking forward to coming back to Richmond Theatre having been in the Christmas panto just 8 months ago. ‘I’ve got to say I can’t wait to be back – in my opinion it’s the best run theatre in the country. Everybody works so hard there and the audiences are really wonderful. It’s great to be back!’
Richmond is a place Gary is very familiar with and he offers a few of his favourite places, ‘I’d recommend Giulianos – it’s a small Italian cafe and they do great take-away. Oh and I’ve just discovered a very nice bakery called Paul – it’s really good!’ So if you are in the Richmond area from 5-10 November, why not grab a bite to eat and catch a show that is promised to be a ‘great performance from a brilliant cast’.
For booking and more information www.atgtickets.com