27 Mar 2014
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Cynthia Erivo, Alan Morrissey and Simon Lipkin Interview

SO we were lucky enough to swizzle on down to the very beautiful London Palladium to see a few cheeky snippets from the newest musical on the block, I Can’t Sing! After the show we managed to catch up with leading actors Alan Morrissey who plays Max, Cynthia Erivo, who plays Chenice and Simon Lipkin, who is the puppeteer behind the lovable dog, Barlow. Check out the highlights from the Q&A in the video below, or read the full interview below! Enjoy!

 

Full Q&A

[To Simon] How does it feel playing a puppet, Barlow?

Simon: Yeah! Shall I let him answer? Haha! It’s awesome. I’ve got a little dog of my own at home, he’s five months old. I got him just before I started this show, which means I can claim him back on tax! [Laughs] It’s awesome. I love pupeteering. I get to hide behind him. It’s so much easier to be funny with someone on your arm.

[To all] Is there a song in the show that you wish you could sing yourself?

Cynthia: If I had a chance I’d do “Better Than That.” That would be really cool.
Alan: “All Woman!” everytime! I would NAIL it! Give me a nice dress!
Simon: I’d quite like to sing anything like Cynthia! Who wouldn’t. As a 6ft2” Jewish white man, it’s always been a dream of mine to sing like a petite black girl.
[All laugh]
Simon: They should never have asked me to do this!

[To all] Which is your favourite judge?

Cynthia: In our show I’d have to say Geordie because she is my mentor. In real life, probably Sharon Osbourne. She’s pretty cool.
Simon: I would have gone for the Osbourne. It’s in the hair. Her hair is amazing. I like Louis as a judge in our show; it is just a simpler life!
[Laughter]
Alan: I’ve got to take Simon I guess! But in the real world, definitely the Gary Barlow. You know, Northern Legend! He’s handsome, dresses well!
Simon: I retract my answer! Barlow! I’m called Barlow!
Cynthia: You CAN’T retract your answer!

You guys obviously worked a long time in theatre to hone your skills…what do you think to instant fame reality TV shows such as X Factor?

Simon: I genuinely don’t mind them. I don’t think it is a new fangled thing, there have been shows on television for years and years that create stars and I think if they are talented and good at what they do then, regardless, it is a platform for anyone. Just like theatre is a platform for us. If it’s a start for someone and they take it seriously then why not.
Cynthia: I guess it is a chance. We have been lucky enough to get to schools that hone our craft, but there are some people that just don’t get those chances. It is a good opportunity to go up in front of people and sing. You know. I think it is pretty cool especially when it brings up cool new artists.
Alan: If someone hadn’t offered me a scholarship…if I’d never been given that opportunity I might not have got to where I am. I can see why people go on these shows. It’s there only way through sometimes. For that it is brilliant. Also, I guess to replace gladiators on a Saturday night! What better a replacement that the X Factor! If they brought Gladiators back I wouldn’t want any of these reality TV shows!
Simon: As long as Jet is still in it!

Alan Morrissey Simon Lipkin and Cynthia Erivo interview

How difficult is it to not laugh on stage?

Cynthia: Still very difficult!
Simon: We gave up on hat a lot time ago!
Cynthia and Alan: Yeah.
Simon: This show is amazing because we can talk to the audience. We can have that little knowing look. If you’re in the barricades in Les Miserables and somebody slips and falls you can’t laugh. But in this you can just go “yeaaaah, it went wrong!” We have a lot of fun! It’s amazing to be onstage with them.
Cynthia: I absolutely do not expect anyone to save me from laughing as I will look at them and they will be laughing too. It’s fine!
Alan: It’s great catching people off guard. It’s always changing. Lines are still changing. Sometimes someone will throw a joke at you and you will have to respond the way the audience do as it’s the first time you have heard it. The great thing is is that the style of the show embraces that.
Simon: The other night…Alan came on stage, unbeknownst to us, dressed like Pharrell. With like baggy trouser pants, a hat that looks like the sorting hat from Harry Potter, a massive gold chain. Not that he can’t pull it off, but it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Alan: We had a conversation about how to make my costume more ridiculous. It was all done in a day. These guys had never seen it all when I walked on stage

If you guys could be a former X Factor contestant that who would you be:

Alan: Same Difference every time!
Simon: Same Difference were amazing!
Alan: Dream come true! Me, Cynthia and Alan as Same Difference!
Simon: They were like a rubbish version of S Club 7! Ooh I’d be that guy, Johnny Robinson! Him! I liked him! He was a corker.
Cynthia: He was REALLY sweet! …I think I might have fun being Leona.

How do you describe the show to people who have no idea what they are coming to see?

Simon: Harry Hill was walking out of the theatre the other night. He had his flat cap on and his glasses. He was walking behind an old couple and he heard them say: “I’ve never taken LSD but I imagine that that is what it is a bit like…!” It is unlike anything! It’s got beauty; we’re in the London Palladium! It is the home of variety and this show more than a lot of other shows I have seen really embraces that sketch show and craziness. It is the first original British comedy in years. It is fun and bonkers. It’s Python-esque. It’s Harry Hill-esque. It is a great night out. If you embrace it then you will enjoy it.

How much has it change from rehearsals?

Cynthia: A lot!
Alan: [laughs] A better question is how much is the same! It changes every day.
Cynthia: It is the nature of the beast! It is completely new.
Simon: It is comedy. Until you get it infront of 2,500 people every night you don’t know what works. We use previews for what they are traditionally for… We have used Previews to really work on the show.
Alan: We has so many people with so many ideas…we kept throwing things in the pot. The lucky position we were in with such long previews is like we got to do the greatest hits. We picked the best bits.

How many of those parodied in the show do you expect to come to see it

Simon: Louis’ been in, Simon’s been in. Sam Bailey has been in. They all loved it. I am really excited for Cheryl and Dermot to see it…

I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical opened at the London Palladium on the 26th March 2014 and is currently booking until October.

Read our review of the show here

Rebecca

About the Author

Rebecca is a cheeky London lady with a love of theatre, cheese and wine (preferably all at the same time!) She graduated from Goldsmiths (University of London) with a First Class Honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts and later went on to study for an NCTJ postgraduate diploma in Journalism.

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